Interesting Photo of the Day: Incredible Microscopic Image of a Moth’s Wing

As a biochemist by trade, Linden Gledhill has learned to appreciate the beauty of even the smallest of things. So when he isn’t developing biopharmaceuticals to treat diseases like cancer and diabetes, Gledhill combines his skills with a microscope and his love for photography to create incredible macro images that showcase nature’s intricate beauty.

In a recent study of the wing structure and colorful adornment of butterflies and moths, Gledhill created a stunning series of images that includes this photograph of a sunset moth’s wing:

butterfly wing rainbow colors colorful scales scaly dust

Gledhill’s macro image of a sunset moth’s wing. (Via Imgur. Click to see larger size.)

The sunset moth, technically known as Urania ripheus, is a day flying moth native to Madagascar. Its wings are iridescent, which means that their colors change to the eye depending on the direction of light. Like butterfly wings, moth wings are made up of microscopic scales that, when disturbed, flake off of the wing like “pixie dust.”

Gledhill photographs the wings with an Automated Gigapixel Olympus BHM meteorology microscope and a NeoSPlan tube lens within a BH2-UMA vertical illuminator. To boost the vibrancy and iridescence of the scales, he also utilizes the microscope’s epi lighting and several LED lamps, in addition to an NFK 2.5x eye piece (see the setup here).

“I’m completely enchanted by the physical world around me and obsessed by its natural beauty,” writes Gledhill on his Flickr page. “My career in science has magnified this feeling of awe. For me, photography is a way to capture this physical beauty and to pass this feeling on to others.”

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