Navigation Links
Butterflies change wing color in new Yale research
Date:8/5/2014

Yale University scientists have chosen the most fleeting of mediums for their groundbreaking work on biomimicry: They've changed the color of butterfly wings.

In so doing, they produced the first structural color change in an animal by influencing evolution. The discovery may have implications for physicists and engineers trying to use evolutionary principles in the design of new materials and devices.

The research appears this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"What we did was to imagine a new target color for the wings of a butterfly, without any knowledge of whether this color was achievable, and selected for it gradually using populations of live butterflies," said Antnia Monteiro, a former professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, now at the National University of Singapore.

In this case, Monteiro and her team changed the wing color of the butterfly Bicyclus anynana from brown to violet. They needed only six generations of selection.

Little is known about how structural colors in nature evolved, although researchers have studied such mechanisms extensively in recent years. Most attempts at biomimicry involve finding a desirable outcome in nature and simply trying to copy it in the laboratory.

"Today, materials engineers are making complex materials to perform multiple functions. The parameter space for the design of such materials is huge, so it is not easy to search for the optimal design," said Hui Cao, chair of Yale's Department of Applied Physics, who also worked on the study. "This is why we can learn from nature, which has obtained the optimal solutions in many cases via natural evolution over millions of years."

Indeed, the scientists explained, natural selection algorithms can select for multiple characteristics simultaneously which is standard operating procedure in the natural world.

The desired color for the butterfly wings was achieved by changing the relative thickness of the wing scales specifically, those of the lower lamina. It took less than a year of selective breeding to produce the color change from brown to violet.

One reason Bicyclus anynana was chosen for the experiment, Monteiro said, was because it has cousin species that have evolved violet colors on their wings twice independently. By reproducing such a change in the lab, the Yale team showed that butterfly populations harbor high levels of genetic variation regulating scale thickness that lets them react quickly to new selective conditions.

"We just thought if natural selection has been able to modify wing colors in members of this genus of butterfly, perhaps so can we," Monteiro said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Shelton
james.shelton@yale.edu
203-432-3881
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies
2. Study reveals how monarch butterflies recolonize northern breeding range
3. Monarch butterflies down again this year as decline continues, says Texas A&M expert
4. Rewarding work for butterflies
5. Massachusetts butterflies move north as climate warms
6. UF study shows spiders, not birds, may drive evolution of some butterflies
7. Mathematical butterflies provide insight into how insects fly
8. The peoples choice: Americans would pay to help monarch butterflies
9. Unique new dataset CLIMBER: Climatic niche characteristics of the butterflies in Europe
10. Crocodile tears please thirsty butterflies and bees
11. Some Ohio butterflies threatened by rising temperatures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Butterflies change wing color in new Yale research
(Date:1/20/2016)... 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ... today announced sampling of S1423, its newest ClearPad ... small screen applications including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and ... and rectangular shapes, as well as thick and ... moisture on screen, while wearing gloves, and supports ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... JUAN, Puerto Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... companies big and small to find new ways to ... driven culture. iOS and Android ... device based on biometrics, transforming it into a hardware ... request that users swipe their fingerprint on their KodeKey ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 ... of the  "India Biometrics Authentication & ... (2015-2020)"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "India ... Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House ... , has announced that University of Maryland School of ... MBA and University of Maryland Medical System President and ... the "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to the ... Delegates. Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) a leading ... , Allergan,s CEO and President, will be featured as ... the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February ... York Palace Hotel in New York, NY ... can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web site ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... anticipated expansion to their comprehensive training and support program, Sonalinkā„¢ remote monitoring. The ... HIFU procedures performed on Friday, February 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Creation Technologies, ... of the Highest Overall Customer Rating Award from Circuits Assembly , today announced ... across the USA, Canada, Mexico and China. , The EMS provider, known in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: