Dragonflies: Blue wings disappear against water

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The way light reflects off morpho dragonflies’ bright blue wings helps the insects blend in with water when viewed from above, making them invisible to predators and prey



Life



3 March 2022

Zenithoptera lanei is a genus of dragonfly, Libellulidae family. Location: Near Presidente Figueiredo, Amazon rainforest, Brazil; Shutterstock ID 1161881227; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

The bright wings of morpho dragonflies can also keep the insects hidden

Shutterstock/guentermanaus

With dazzling blue iridescent wings, male morpho dragonflies should be hard to miss, but their wings are simultaneously capable of both spectacle and stealth. When viewed against a shining, watery background, the insects can vanish.

Male morpho dragonflies (Zenithoptera lanei), native to Central and northern South America, have wings that generate intense colour by using special, layered structures that alter how light reflects off their surface. The male dragonflies use their wings in flickering courtship displays to attract …

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