Butterflies are solar experts, according to Exeter University news 31 July 2015 and Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep12267. A research team led by Tapas Mallick of the Exeter University’s Environment and Sustainability Institute has studied the way cabbage white butterflies use solar energy to warm their wing muscles for flight. Cabbage white butterflies are noted for taking flight early, even on cloudy days, which means they must have some way of quickly warming up their flight muscles.

The research team found the butterflies absorb solar energy by holding their wings in a V-shape at an angle of 17 degrees. When holding their wings in this configuration the butterflies could heat their muscles 7.3 degrees C higher than when the wings were held flat. This is known as “reflectance basking” and it increases the concentration of solar energy directed on the thorax, which contains the wing muscles.

The warming process was also enhanced by the way the light was reflected by the microscopic structure of the scales on the wing surface. The research team attached the wings of a large white butterfly to a 1 cm square silicon solar cell to test for any increase in output power. They reported: “Attaching the wings increased the maximum power by 42.3% (from 16.8 mW to 23.9 mW) and when compared to the weight of standard reflective film increased the power to weight ratio 17 fold”.

They also found that applying a monolayer of butterfly wing scales was enough to give a high level of reflectance. Richard ffrench-Constant, one of the research team commented: “This proves that the lowly Cabbage White is not just a pest of your cabbages but actually an insect that is an expert at harvesting solar energy”.

Exeter University

Editorial Comment: This method of collecting solar energy certainly works well, but to be blunt, calling the butterfly an expert is stupid. Man-made solar panels work because intelligent scientists and engineers, who understand the properties of matter and energy, used their intelligence to manipulate materials and harvest energy from the sun. When it works, we call the solar panel designers the experts, not the panels! Therefore, scientists and engineers who use butterfly wings to make better solar panels should be giving the credit to the Designer and Creator of butterflies. If they use butterfly technology, but cannot recognize that butterflies were created, then they really are “without excuse” and deserve God’s wrath. See Romans 1:20. 

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 14
12 August 2015
Creation Research Australia

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