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Fossilized Biophotonic Nanostructures Reveal the Original Colors of 47-Million-Year-Old Moths

Figure 1

Structurally colored Messel (Eocene) lepidopterans.

(A–C) Light micrographs of specimen MeI12269 with details of areas indicated (B, C). (D–J) Scanning electron micrographs of scales. (D) Surface showing longitudinal ridges and transverse crossribs and microribs. (E) Two overlapping scales showing windows, perforations, and internal laminae of the upper, fractured, scale. Arrow indicates densely packed bead- to rod-like spacers in the uppermost internal lamina. (F, G) Windows and perforations in proximal (F) and distal (G) parts of a scale. (H) Oblique fracture through scale showing successive internal laminae. (I) Surface of internal lamina showing perforations and bead-like spacers. (J) Horizontally fractured scale showing trabeculae (fractured and lying parallel to the scale surface) and reticulate basal lamina with, inset, intact vertically orientated trabeculae. Scale bars: (A), 5 mm; (B, C), 1 mm; (D, E, H, J) (including inset), 2 µm; (F, G, I), 1 µm.

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001200.g001