On the wing of the moth Trichoplusia orichalcea a prominent, apparently highly reflective, golden spot can be seen. Scales from this area of the wing exhibit a regular microstructure resembling a submicrometer herringbone pattern. We show that a diffraction process from this structure is responsible for the observed optical properties, such as directionality, brightness variations, polarization, and color.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
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