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The Wonders of Nature-Butterfly's 'Pixie Dust'

Many people may not have heard ‘pixie dust’ used in reference to butterflies and some might have never heard of pixie dust, to begin with. However, the term is quite appropriate when it comes to butterflies.

In mythology, pixie dust is a powdery substance that allows mythological pixies to fly.

People who have observed butterflies very closeup might have noticed that the wings are covered with what appears to be dust. It isn’t dust at all, but rather tiny scales that overlap each other. The scales are normally colored and it is this that gives a butterfly’s wings their distinctive coloration.

The scales that make up this ‘pixie dust’ have multiple purposes, though, besides just giving the wings their coloration. They also both strengthen the wings and assist with the airflow around the wings, allowing the butterfly to fly. Thus, ‘pixie dust’ is appropriate since it lets a butterfly fly. Without the scales, the butterfly wouldn’t be able to fly through the air.

Additionally, the scales also serve the purpose of absorbing heat. Butterflies are cold-blooded, so they require heat in order to fly and to survive.

In fact, if the pixie dust is removed from a butterflies wings, the butterfly will die. The scales aren’t vital organs as such, but they serve vital purposes and are needed for this insect to survive.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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