How Butterflies Stay Dry

Ever wonder how insects such as the butterfly are able to stay dry when it rains? Butterflies have a pretty neat way of surviving rainfall. You see, when water hits the wing of a butterfly, a raised vein splits the splash and sends the water bouncing away faster than a smoother surface could. An example of a smooth surface would be human skin.


Slightly bumpy surfaces are able to repel water better than smooth surfaces. A group of students at Boston University, led by student James Bird, tested this theory out by dripping water onto silicon wafers all with different textures. They then observed the splashes made by the water droplets. They noticed that droplets of water that hit smoother surfaces flattened out before bouncing away. They also took note of how droplets that hit more ridged wafers flared and quickly skimmed surfaces before rebounding. These results helped explain how butterfly wings are able to stay dry so well!

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By Amanda Okpoebo



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