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The many wonders of butterflies and how they evolve by design

The many wonders of butterflies and how they evolve by design

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Butterflies, those universally loved flying works of art, offer many reasons to celebrate design in nature. They showcase aesthetic beauty beyond the requirements of survival (see “Beauty, Darwin and Design,” featuring Paul Nelson). Their migrations show foresight over multiple generations. The one-gram Monarch butterflies astonish biologists with their exceptional endurance to survive hardships while flying thousands of miles on paper-thin wings (see “2-Minute Wonder: A Monarch’s Journey”).Their navigation systems exhibit stunning accuracy to arrive at locations they have never seen.Their keen senses can find the right host plants from miles away; they can smell very faint pheromones for mating; and they can distinguish precise angles of sunlight for orientation and timing of migration. Their wing scales, organized into “photonic crystals,” give precision control of light waves to create iridescent colors. Last, but not least, their metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to…
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