We Respond Like EVERY Call Is An Emergency

Why Do Butterflies Have Colored Wings?

Posted on April 12th, 2018 by Knockout Pest

butterflies have crazy colors for multiple reasons

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful creatures on this planet. Many different species have colors you don’t normally see in nature.

But have you ever wondered why so many different butterflies have such exotic colors and patterns?

What Do the Colors and Patterns Do?

Many things in nature exist for a reason rather than by chance. In a butterfly’s case, its vibrant colors and detailed patterns serve a greater purpose than for it to look pretty.

Some use their colors to camouflage themselves from predators. Others use their beautiful exterior to warn others of possible dangers nearby. While females will use it to flaunt themselves to attract a male counterpart — (work it, girl).

Where Do the Colors Come From?

The colors and patterns on a butterfly are a bit more complicated than other animals. They’re comprised of two separate sources of color — ordinary and structural color.

  • Ordinary Color – This source of color is the typical way of showing color. Chemicals will absorb certain wavelengths of light, which will, in turn, reflect other wavelengths of light. For example, if a butterfly has a green color, its chemical makeup will absorb red and blue wavelengths of light but will reflect the color not absorbed — green. In addition to this, butterflies that are brown or yellow will receive their different shades because of melanin (the pigment that makes you tan and gives you freckles).
  • Structural Color – This source of color is because of the structure of the butterfly’s wings. As the wing moves, you’ll notice colors change. This is known as iridescence. This occurs when light passes through a transparent and multi-layered surface. Light will reflect off of these multiple, translucent surfaces, giving off a secondary color that can change the overall color of the butterfly. Think of the crazy colors you see when you look at a soap bubble closely — this is the same concept.

The structural color can lighten or darken the shade of the ordinary color. On the other hand, if the structural color is different from the ordinary color, it can change the overall color of the butterfly altogether.

A butterfly with a green ordinary color and a blue structural color could result in a yellow butterfly flapping around your yard. You’ll never look at butterflies the same now, will you?

Knockout is a proud member of the following trade organizations


Founded in 1980, IFMA is the world's largest and most widely recognized international association for facility management professionals, supporting 24,000 members in 10​4 countries.

This diverse membership participates in focused component groups equipped to address their unique situations by region (133 chapters), industry (15 councils) and areas of interest (six communities). Together they manage more than 78 billion square feet of property and annually purchase more than US$526 billion in products and services.


The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a federation of 91 BOMA U.S. associations and 18 international affiliates. Founded in 1907, BOMA represents the owners and managers of all commercial property types including nearly 10.5 billion square feet of U.S. office space that supports 1.7 million jobs and contributes $234.9 billion to the U.S. GDP.


The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members from around the world, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. This commitment is reflected both in the continuing education of pest management professionals and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners and businesses.


The NYPMA is The Voice for pest management companies all throughout New York State. Becoming a member could be one of the best possible investments you’ll ever make for your business. Not only will you have the backing of the New York Pest Management Association behind your company, but you’ll also get listed locally within our directory. This is a big plus for consumers or businesses looking for a legitimate pest management provider they can trust.


CAI provides information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them. CAI members include association board members and other homeowner leaders, community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to associations.


GreenPro, the world’s largest and most credible green certification program for pest management professionals, recognizes companies within our industry that are committed to providing commercial and residential customers with reduced risk, comprehensive, and effective pest control services.

Customer Reviews

The final icon, in blue and white, closely similar to the original version but with the body foregrounded, and wheel cutouts to suggest motion.