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Biology & Life Sciences

Slice of PLOS: The Beauty of Butterflies

Curated Collections

Butterflies’ special place in human culture stems from the fact that they have used their wings not only for flight, but as a canvas for some of the most striking patterns in nature. Evolving from an ancestral moth-like insect about 60 million years ago, the sheer beauty of their wings, and the metaphorical power of their emergence fully formed from rather unpromising pupae, has made butterflies an object of admiration and inspiration. But the nature, development and evolution of these staggeringly diverse decorations (of the more than 18,000 species of butterfly, almost all differ in their wing patterns) has also attracted the attention of scientists; although studied since antiquity, many butterfly secrets continue to be revealed, as this selection of research published in PLOS journals and other open access sources in the last 12 months shows.

Image Credit: Chris Jiggins

Slice of PLOS: The Beauty of Butterflies
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