Butterflies aren’t the only ones with beautiful wings. A Discovery Blog by Ed Yong does a nice job of reporting research from Ekaterina Shevtsova of Lund University in Sweden. Shevtsova carefully photographed a series of wasps on a black, rather than the usual white, background, revealing a rainbow of structural colors previously ignored by most researchers.
Besides being a delightful surprise to the viewer, it turns out that these colors, formed in much the same way as the colorful sheen of oil on water, can be used to identify otherwise identical species of insects. Shevtsova theorizes that these colors, which humans are prone to overlook, are quite likely to be obvious to the flies themselves–perhaps serving as a tool for sexual recognition.