Subtle design changes control the difference in colour reflection from the dorsal and ventral wing-membrane surfaces of the damselfly Matronoides cyaneipennis.
Optical Society of America
This is the final version of the article. Available from the Optical Society of America via the DOI in this record.
The hind wings of males of the damselfly Matronoides cyaneipennis exhibit iridescence that is blue dorsally and green ventrally. These structures are used semiotically in agonistic and courtship display. Transmission electron microscopy reveals these colours are due to two near-identical 5-layer distributed Bragg reflectors, one placed either side of the wing membrane. Interestingly the thicknesses of corresponding layers in each distributed Bragg reflector are very similar for all but the second layer from each outer surface. This one key difference creates the significant disparity between the reflected spectra from the distributed Bragg reflectors and the observed colours of either side of the wing. Modelling indicates that modifications to the thickness of this layer alone create a greater change in the peak reflected wavelength than is observed for similar modifications to the thickness of any other layer. This results in an optimised and highly effective pair of semiotic reflector systems, based on extremely comparable design parameters, with relatively low material and biomechanical costs.
Pete Vukusic acknowledges the financial support of AFOSR grant FA9550-10-1-0020. We thank D.G. Stavenga for critical reading of the manuscript.
Optics Express, 2013, Vol. 21 (2), pp. 1479 - 1488
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