In a 2016 visual publication on BioGraphic, came a very interesting video produced by the California Academy of Sciences. Amazingly enough, scientists are now able to watch butterflies in a whole different way. They can actually watch the butterfly’s wing structure develop inside of the chrysalis.
A scientist by the name of Nipam Patel, who headlines the video, began to collect and study butterflies at the young age of eight years old. With his research being done in developmental biology, he became interested in the genealogy of the butterflies, and how it helped morphed the organism.
“Very little is known,” says Patel, “from the biology side, of how the butterfly actually makes these [structural colors]” of the various wings from iridescent butterflies. However, that’s what these scientists are setting out to discover.
The part of the development process that these particular scientists are interested takes about three to four days. They take a picture of the wings in development almost every three minutes in order to create a time lapse of the color structure developing. The video provided shows some of these time lapses in all of their beauty — and it’s amazing to actually be able to see the wings develop.
One of the processes shown in the video is a tiny bit gruesome to look at if you have somewhat of a weak stomach, but don’t worry — the butterfly (actually, caterpillar at this point in the process) can’t feel anything, and the wing actually grows back, so no damage to the butterfly is done.
You can watch the video here, or up above depending on the platform you’re reading this article on.