Year of 2017

A glasswing butterfly perched on a leaf

Nature doesn’t need high-tech stealth gadgets you might see in a spy movie—it has the glasswing butterfly. Though scientists are still studying how this insect evolved see-through wings, they know that the properties of the scales on its wings differ from those of other butterflies. The scales are not uniform in size or arrangement, which allows light to pass through more easily, aiding in the glass-like appearance of the wings. It’s part of the butterfly’s clever adaptation—birds and lizards can’t eat what they can’t see.

Greta oto, the glasswinged butterfly or glasswing, is a brush-footed butterfly, and is a member of the subfamily Danainae, tribe Ithomiini, subtribe Godyridina. G. oto adults also exhibit a number of interesting behaviors, such as long migrations and lekking among males.
Scientific name: Greta oto
Biological classification: Species