January 15, 2020 1 min read

If you've ever taken a close look at a butterfly wing, you may notice a fine layer of "dust" among its vivid patterns. This isn't actually dust at all, but tiny modified hairs known as "scales" that give the butterfly's wings their vibrant and beautiful colors. These scales can easily be brushed off the wing membrane, which comes in quite handy when a butterfly needs to escape a tight spot such as a spiderweb! They're not just for self-defense: the tiny scales also improve lift during flight, allowing butterflies to make long-distance journeys. That's also why we have to be careful when handling our butterflies, since our fingers can easily brush their scales off too!

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