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Evolutionary convergence of butterflies

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From Royal Society:

Mid-Mesozoic kalligrammatid lacewings (Neuroptera) entered the fossil record 165 million years ago (Ma) and disappeared 45 Ma later. Extant papilionoid butterflies (Lepidoptera) probably originated 80–70 Ma, long after kalligrammatids became extinct. Although poor preservation of kalligrammatid fossils previously prevented their detailed morphological and ecological characterization, we examine new, well-preserved, kalligrammatid fossils from Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous sites in northeastern China to unravel a surprising array of similar morphological and ecological features in these two, unrelated clades. We used polarized light and epifluorescence photography, SEM imaging, energy dispersive spectrometry and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to examine kalligrammatid fossils and their environment. We mapped the evolution of specific traits onto a kalligrammatid phylogeny and discovered that these extinct lacewings convergently evolved wing eyespots that possibly contained melanin, and wing scales, elongate tubular proboscides, similar feeding styles, and seed–plant associations, similar to butterflies. Long-proboscid kalligrammatid lacewings lived in ecosystems with gymnosperm–insect relationships and likely accessed bennettitalean pollination drops and pollen. This system later was replaced by mid-Cretaceous angiosperms and their insect pollinators.More.

See also: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?

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3 Replies to “Evolutionary convergence of butterflies

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Bernard d’Abrera on Butterfly Mimicry and the Faith of the Evolutionist – October 5, 2011
    Excerpt: For it to happen in a single species once through chance, is mathematically highly improbable. But when it occurs so often, in so many species, and we are expected to apply mathematical probability yet again, then either mathematics is a useless tool, or we are being criminally blind.,,, Evolutionism (with its two eldest daughters, phylogenetics and cladistics) is the only systematic synthesis in the history of the universe that proposes an Effect without a Final Cause. It is a great fraud, and cannot be taken seriously because it outrageously attempts to defend the philosophically indefensible.

    Also of note. Besides mimicry amongst butterflies, Metamorphosis, by itself, is completely antagonistic to the Darwinian notion of gradual change:

    From Discovering Intelligent Design: My How You’ve Changed – May 26, 2013
    Excerpt: Holometabolism (complete metamorphosis) is the most common and complicated form of insect maturation. The diverse group that undergoes this type of process includes butterflies, moths, beetles, fleas, bees, ants, and many kinds of flies.,,,
    It is exceedingly difficult to understand the origin of holometabolism in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Neither the larval nor the pupal stage is capable of reproduction — only the adult is. In particular, the pupal stage is an all-or nothing proposition. It must complete the process and become an adult, or it will die without ever reproducing.
    The liquefied organism must be completely rebuilt. For this to occur, large amounts of information — encoding the larval body plan, the mechanisms of transformation during metamorphosis, and the adult body plan — must exist before the larva enters this stage. An organism could not survive complete metamorphosis unless the entire process was fully programmed from the beginning. Such a large jump in complexity requires forethought and planning — things that don’t exist in Darwinian evolution. As one evolutionary entomologist acknowledges:
    “… the biggest head-scratcher in evolutionary biology would have to be the origin of the holometabolous insect larva.”

    The following video, at the 12:20 mark, gives a nice overview of the enormous challenge involved for Darwinists to ever offer a feasible explanation for metamorphosis (much less for them to ever give an actual demonstration of Darwinian processes creating it).

    The Miracle of Development Part 1 – Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video

    A mathematician weighs in here

    A Mathematician Explains the Irreducible Complexity of Metamorphosis – November 2011
    Excerpt: Now we are not talking about climbing Mount Improbable, we are talking about building a bridge across an enormous chasm, between caterpillar and butterfly. ,, Until construction of this extremely long and complicated bridge is almost complete, it is a bridge to nowhere. Unless a butterfly (or another organism capable of reproduction) comes out at the end, the chrysalis only serves as a casket for the caterpillar, which cannot reproduce. Now we do not have to simply imagine uses for not-quite-watertight vacuum chamber traps, we have to imagine a selective advantage for committing suicide before you are able to reproduce, and that is a more difficult challenge!

    Moreover, metamorphosis has been present since the Cambrian:

    The Enigma of Metamorphosis Is Hardly Limited to Butterflies – October 2011
    Excerpt: Even more mysteriously, it appears that the most ancient phyla were metamorphic from the beginning, based on the few larval forms that have been preserved. This suggests that these Cambrian animals had not one but two or more developmental stages at the outset,,,,

    Metamorphosis Is Widespread – Ann Gauger – video

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    A few notes as to butterfly wings:

    Biomimicry Could Solve Green Energy Problems and Lead to Environmentally Friendly Tech – Casey Luskin – August 17, 2015
    Excerpt: The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.
    A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy — or ways in which to convert light into power.
    They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by the Cabbage White butterfly (pictured above) to heat up their flight muscles before takeoff, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.
    Crucially, by replicating this ‘wing-like’ structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.,,,
    butterfly wings are both highly reflective and much lighter than any current reflective material. Mimicking these reflective structures with similar power to weight properties will be extremely useful in the design of new reflective materials for use in applications where weight is a limiting issue

    GE’s Butterfly-inspired Design to Enable Advanced, Low Cost Thermal Imaging Devices – video

    G.E. Brings Life to Good Things – February 16, 2012
    Excerpt: Thanks to the micro-design on a beautiful insect’s wings, someday we may see many useful applications. A surgeon might be able to visualize precise locations of inflammation. A soldier might wear higher-resolution night-vision goggles. A firefighter might carry a hand-held thermal sensor to avoid danger. A security inspector might have a new way to detect explosives. Your doctor might study a wound’s heat signature for better diagnosis without incisions.

    Audio: why do butterflies shimmer? on the BBC News. Butterfly “structural color” may lead engineers to design super materials.

    From butterflies’ wings to bank notes — how nature’s colors could cut bank fraud
    Excerpt: According to Kolle: “We have unlocked one of nature’s secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature.”,,,”These artificial structures could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on banknotes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery. We still need to refine our system but in future we could see structures based on butterflies wings shining from a £10 note or even our passports,” he says.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    SEM (scanning electron microscope) of butterfly wings – images

    Butterfly wings inspire new high-tech surfaces – November 7, 2012
    Excerpt: The researchers wanted to test how butterfly wings and rice leaves might display some of the characteristics of other surfaces they’ve studied, such as shark skin, which is covered with slippery, microscopic grooves that cause water to flow smoothly around the shark. They also tested fish scales, and included non-textured flat surfaces for comparison. After studying all the textures close up, the researchers made molds of them in silicone and cast plastic replicas. To emulate the waxy coating on the rice leaves and the slippery coating on shark skin (which in nature is actually mucous), they covered all the surfaces with a special coating consisting of nanoparticles. In one test, they lined plastic pipes with the different coated textures and pushed water through them. The resulting water pressure drop in the pipe was an indication of fluid flow. For a pipe about the size of a cocktail straw, a thin lining of shark skin texture coated with nanoparticles reduced water pressure drop by 29 percent compared to the non-coated surface. The coated rice leaf came in second, with 26 percent, and the butterfly wing came in third with around 15 percent. Then they dusted the textures with silicon carbide powder – a common industrial powder that resembles natural dirt – and tested how easy the surfaces were to clean. They held the samples at a 45-degree angle and dripped water over them from a syringe for two minutes, so that about two tablespoons of water washed over them in total. Using software, they counted the number of silicon carbide particles on each texture before and after washing. The shark skin came out the cleanest, with 98 percent of the particles washing off during the test. Next came the rice leaf, with 95 percent, and the butterfly wing with about 85 percent washing off. By comparison, only 70 percent washed off of the flat surface. Bushan thinks that the rice leaf texture might be especially suited to helping fluid move more efficiently through pipes, such as channels in micro-devices or oil pipelines. As to the Blue Morpho’s beautiful wings, their ability to keep the butterfly clean and dry suggests to him that the clapboard roof texture might suit medical equipment, where it could prevent the growth of bacteria.

    Brilliant Butterfly Feature Challenges Darwinian Selection by Brian Thomas, M.S. – September 2013
    Excerpt: The PNAS study authors wrote, “Morpho butterflies are a brilliant spectacle of nature’s capacity for photonic engineering.” However, there is no reason—other than sheer bias—to credit nature with engineering butterfly optic structures that even human engineers have not yet been able to replicate.

    Problems with evolution of (Butterfly) mimicry “huge” – with picture of leaf mimic butterfly – April 2014

    Deciphering butterflies’ designer colors: – July 17, 2013
    Excerpt: The three tropical butterflies the researchers studied all display iridescence, a property of materials that change color depending on the viewing angle, but they do so with different colors. Papilio ulysses, the Ulysses butterfly or blue mountain swallowtail, appears bluish green when seen from above. Its cousin Papilio peranthus, by contrast, looks yellowish green from above, and a third relative, Papilio blumei, the green swallowtail, is more of a deep green. All three shift toward deep blue when viewed from a sharp angle.
    To probe the physics behind the wings’ structural colorations, the scientists examined a cross-section of each species’ wing under a scanning electron microscope. The team found that the wings contain specialized architectures in which solid flat layers known as cuticles alternate with thin “air” layers known as laminae. The laminae aren’t entirely empty space, however; they also contain pillars of the cuticle material, which gives the wing a repeating crystal-like structure. This structure is similar to what is known as a Bragg reflector—essentially a multi-layered mirror that reflects only certain wavelengths, or colors, of light.
    The researchers then measured the light spectrum reflected from the wing at different angles, using a technique called angle-resolved reflection spectroscopy. They found that the varying colors of the three species’ wings arise from slight differences in crystal parameters. P. ulysses has seven cuticle layers, for example, while P. peranthus has eight. The thicknesses of the cuticles and air layers also vary between species. Cheah notes that even though these differences are slight, they have a major effect on the butterflies’ appearance. “It all comes from the fact the wing structure has subtle differences between these three types of butterfly,” he says.

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