08 May 2009

Clearwing moth from the sidewalk


This dead moth was today's find on a sidewalk at a relatively quiet corner of an otherwise busy shopping center. It is probably a hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe).

Their wings are indeed clear.


Under the microscope, the clear portion of the wing is mostly free of scales and has the look of cellophane. It must consists of dead cells that are completely devoid of molecules that absorb light in the visible spectrum.


1 comment:

George said...

Insect wing membrane is made of cuticle, which is extracellular secretion. I'm not sure about the veins, which are hollow and contain hemolymph.