Glasswing butterflies do actually exist. The Glasswing butterfly, also known as Greta oto, is a remarkable species due to its transparent wings. The wings of this butterfly are unique because they reflect minimal light, allowing a wide spectrum of light to travel straight through the wing tissue, from infrared to ultraviolet. Researchers studying the butterfly’s wings have discovered that the nanostructures on the wing’s surface are completely random, with no regular size or structured distribution. As a result, when light strikes the wing’s surface, only one or two rays are reflected, while the majority of the light passes straight through the wing unobstructed.
These findings have important implications for the development of water-repellent technology. By drawing inspiration from the random nanostructure surface of the Glasswing butterfly, scientists are creating coatings for digital screens that can be viewed even in bright sunlight. Additionally, the first prototypes of this technology have indicated that this type of surface coating is both water-repellent and self-cleaning. This is a prime example of how bio-inspiration can lead to breakthroughs in technology and innovation.
The Cithaerias Aura butterfly stores energy in tiny, transparent scales on its wings called “photonic crystal cells.” These cells are made up of thin layers of chitin, a protein found in insect exoskeletons, and air pockets. When sunlight passes through these layers, it creates a physical effect called “photonic bandgap,” which traps the light and converts it into energy.
The energy is then stored in the form of high-energy electrons within the chitin layers, similar to how solar panels store energy in photovoltaic cells. The butterfly can use this stored energy to power its muscles during flight, and also to regulate its body temperature and other metabolic processes.
By studying the mechanisms behind the Cithaerias Aura butterfly’s energy storage, scientists have gained insights into how to improve the efficiency of solar energy capture and storage technologies. Mimicking the butterfly’s photonic crystal cells, researchers have developed new materials for use in solar panels that can more efficiently capture and store solar energy, making solar power a more viable and sustainable energy source for the future.