Structural Blackness in the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing Butterfly

May 06, 2024


Photographer: Greg Parker
Summary Authors: Greg Parker, Jim Foster

Shown above is the Trogonoptera brookiana or Rajah Brooke's Birdwing butterfly, native to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. Its blackest regions are due to the fine periodic structure in its wing scales rather than any pigment combinations or absences. These scales act to diffract white light like those of the Morpho rhetenor, for instance. As a result, incoming sunlight is effectively completely filtered out.

Malay Peninsula Coordinates: 4.149, 101.953

Related Links:
Blue Color of Morpho Rhetenor
Butterfly Identification