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Science Behind Butterfly Vision and Body Temperature: Short Wave: NPR



Monarch butterflies, like this one in Tasascaltepec, Mexico, use ultraviolet polarized light to help them navigate in flight.

Omar Torres / AFP via Getty Images


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Omar Torres / AFP via Getty Images

Monarch butterflies, like this one in Tasascaltepec, Mexico, use ultraviolet polarized light to help them navigate in flight.

Omar Torres / AFP via Getty Images

Adriana Briscoe, a professor of biology and ecology at UC Irvine, studies sight in butterflies. Turns out, the butterflies are really cool. For example, they may be trained to detect light of a certain color – which she did as part of her research.

Adriana also answers questions you may never have thought to ask such as: Why stay in the sunlight? And why do some of them have “hearts” in their wings?

Also, you never have to guess where their photoreceptors are from.

We are also discussing the importance of teachers and mentors in the diversification of STEM fields, about which Adriana wrote.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Rebecca Ramirez and Brent Baughman, edited by Deb George, and controlled by Rebecca Ramirez.


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