The Ultimate Butterfly Colors Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Picture the shimmering, iridescent wings of a butterfly. What is it that gives them such striking, colorful wings? Take our quiz and learn more about the scientific bases of butterfly colors. It's one science lesson you're not likely to forget!

At what distance can pilots flying over the South American rainforests see the colors of the morpho butterfly?

Pilots flying over the South American rainforests can see the bright blue of the morpho butterfly from up to half a mile (800 meters) away.

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From how many sources do butterflies get their color from?

Butterflies get their color from two sources: ordinary color and structured color.

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What is another term for ordinary color?

Another term for ordinary color is pigmented color, because color comes from chemical pigments that either reflect or absorb certain wavelengths of light.

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From which pigment to butterflies get their color?

Butterflies get their brown and yellow colors from the pigment melanin, the same pigment that gives humans tans or freckles.

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From which pigment do plants get their color?

Plants get their green pigment from chlorophyll, which absorbs the red and blue light waves and reflects green light waves back.

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What is it called when colors change their intensity?

When a color changes its levels of intensity, it is called iridescence. This occurs when light passes through a transparent, multi-layered surface and is reflected more than once.

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What form does light take?

Light takes the form of a wave. A wavelength is the distance between two identical points on a wave.

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Which of these is a wave's high point?

A wave's high point is called a crest; its low point is a trough.

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What is the positioning of a wave's high points and low points called?

The positioning of a wave's crests and troughs is called a phase. When waves have identical phases, the crests and troughs would align if they were placed on top of one and other.

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What is white coloring often made from?

White coloring, especially in snow and human hair, is not actually white pigmentation. It is air bubbles that have replaced ordinary color.

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With which type of interference are wavelengths cancelled out?

With destructive interference, when waves are different by half a wavelength or an odd multiple of that, the wavelengths are cancelled out.

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When wavelengths are different by one wavelength or a multiple of that, what happens to the wave?

When wavelength are different by one wavelength or a multiple of that, the color is amplified. This is what happens with iridescence.

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What are butterfly wings covered with?

Butterfly wings are covered with microscopic scales, that are split into three layers. This allows light to be refracted many times as it passes through the layers, creating the butterfly's iridescent colors.

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What is the Greek name for butterflies?

The Greek name for butterflies is Lepidoptera, which means scaled wings.

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What type of light are butterflies able to detect?

Butterflies are able to detect ultraviolet light, something humans cannot. This ability helps monarch butterflies make their way from North America to Mexico during the migrating season.

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