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什么让大闪蝶有了迷人的蓝色? – 译学馆
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什么让大闪蝶有了迷人的蓝色?

What Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Magnificent Blue? | Deep Look

《微观深望》
长成蓝色意味着什么?
What does it mean to be blue?
大闪蝶的翅膀差不多是自然界最美的结构了
The wings of a morpho butterfly are some of the most beautiful structures in nature,
但却没有包含蓝色色素
and yet they contain no blue pigment.
艺术家们使用油漆 染料 墨水 来创作作品
Artists use paint, dyes and ink to make their creations.
大自然画作的调色板就是生物学上的色素了
Nature draws on a palette of biological pigments,
也被称为生物色素
also known as biochromes.
但还有一个产生颜色的方式
But there’s another way of producing color.
那就是“结构色”
It’s called “structural color”.
它可以在纳米级别利用光的物理性质
And it harnesses the physics of light at the nanoscale.
加州大学伯克利分校的尼帕·帕特实验室
Nipam Patel’s lab at UC Berkeley
正在研究大闪蝶是如何还在蛹中时
is studying how morpho butterflies form the special structures that cover their wings, scales,
就形成被覆鳞羽的特殊结构
while still inside the pupae.
大闪蝶大多生活在热带
Morphos live mostly in the tropics.
当休息时 它们会合上翅膀
When they’re resting, they fold their wings up,
展示出深土色的翅膀内面
showing their dark earth-toned undersides.
棕色 黄色和黑色是由色素产生的
The brown, yellow and black colors are generated by pigments.
但另一侧面却全是结构色产生的
But the other side is all about structural color.
这造就了活力闪亮的蓝色
It gives their wings a vibrant, iridescent blue hue.
每个鳞片就像色素一样
Each scale is like a pixel,
如瓦片般镶嵌组合层层排列
a tiny tile in a larger mosaic in layers of overlapping rows.
研究者希望弄清结构色在翅膀上是如何形成的
Researchers want to see how structural color takes shape on the wings,
但这通常在蛹内形成 蛹又不透明
but normally this happens inside the pupae, which is opaque.
所以他们想办法将大闪蝶翅膀从蛹内移出来
So they’ve figured out how to remove the morpho wings from the pupae,
并在培养皿里培养
and grow them in a Petri dish.
就像生成照片一样
Just like a developing photograph,
当鳞片的表面随着时间发生转变
patterns and colors slowly appear on the ghostly white wings
图案和色彩慢慢出现藻苍白的翅膀上
as each scale’s surface transforms over time.
每个鳞片表面的脊是影响翅膀伸展的重要部件
Ridges on the scales’ surface are a key component that affect how the wing spreads,
也像棱镜一样 影响光线折射
or refracts light, similar to a prism.
当光线照射到这些脊 相长干涉就会起作用
When light hits these ridges, a phenomena called constructive interference comes into play.
脊之间的空隙就像圣诞树一样
The spacing within the ridges, which look like little Christmas trees,
可在消除其他波长同时 完美增强特定波长的光
perfectly reinforces specific wavelengths while canceling out others.
这就是为什么我们的双眼感受到了闪闪的蓝光
This is why your eyes perceive that shimmering blue.
科学家还不是很清楚原因
Scientists aren’t sure why,
但脊椎动物和植物很少能产生蓝色色素
but vertebrates and plants rarely produce blue as a pigment.
由于某些原因 这是种在自然界不常见的色素
For some reason, it’s a pigment you don’t see much of in nature.
所以就当结构色是进化的变通方案吧
So think of structural color as an evolutionary work-around,
这样就可以在纳米级别产生闪耀的蓝色了
a way of producing brilliant blues at a nano level.
不仅在蝴蝶翅膀上 也在羽毛甲虫甚至我们身上
Not just on butterfly wings, but on feathers, beetles, even our own bodies.

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通常昆虫色素中班不含有蓝色,可为何大闪蝶会有蓝色呢?

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