Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Butterfly’s-Eye View

Ever wonder what a butterfly sees as it flies above the Tropical Butterfly House? During the recent annual cleaning of the butterfly house, a camera got a ride up in the scissor-lift with horticulturist, Jeff Leonard to get a “butterfly’s-eye view.”

Of course, we know that butterflies don’t have the same vision as a Nikkor zoom lens. Typical of most insects, butterflies have compound eyes, made up of thousands of tiny ommatidia. The ommatidia allow the butterfly to see in every direction at once, creating an image in the form of a mosaic. Butterflies’ can also recognize high frequency ultraviolet light. Without an ability to focus, butterflies might see flowers something like this*:

While we see something like this:

The following photographs are aerial views of the Tropical Butterfly House if butterflies had human vision or humans could fly above the foliage! Enjoy the ride!

* Artist’s Interpretation. Even butterflies of the same species don't see exactly the same colors.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work and nice view! Not many have seen the Tropical Butterfly House from this angle, oh if only we could fly!