Covert linear polarization signatures from brilliant white two-dimensional disordered wing structures of the phoenix damselfly
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
© 2017 The Author(s)
Reason for embargo
The damselfly Pseudolestes mirabilis reflects brilliant white on the ventral side of its hindwings and a copper-gold colour on the dorsal side. Unlike many previous investigations of odonate wings, in which colour appearances arise either from multilayer interference or from wing-membrane pigmentation, the whiteness on the wings of P. mirabilis results from light scattered by a specialized arrangement of flattened waxy fibres and the copper-gold colour is produced by pigment-based filtering of this light scatter. The waxy fibres responsible for this optical signature effectively form a structure that is disordered in two dimensions and this also gives rise to distinct optical linear polarization. It is a structure that provides a mechanism enabling P. mirabilis to display its bright wing colours efficiently for territorial signalling, both passively while perched, in which the sunlit copper-gold upperside is presented against a highly contrasting background of foliage, and actively in territorial contests in which the white underside is also presented. It also offers a template for biomimetic high-intensity broadband reflectors that have a pronounced polarization signature
We acknowledge the financial support of AFOSR grant no. FA9550-10-1-0020.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Royal Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 14, Iss. 130