Butterflies and moths. Graceful and beautiful, flitting and floating in our spring and summer skies. Their delicate choreographies of dazzling colors are among the most amazing in the animal kingdom. But their beauty is not the only thing they can offer.
Through the lenses of powerful microscopes, scientists discover treasures of genius and unexpected secrets that can be adapted and applied to make our world better and more sustainable. This film is a journey into the nano-dimensions of butterflies, from high-tech labs around the world to the deepest forests and lavender fields, encountering amazing butterfly species.
Like the iconic Morpho: the study of its iridescent blue wing reveals a way to produce structural color. Its nanostructures have inspired researchers to control light. Chunlei Guo, who is continuously seeking to reproduce butterfly structures, has created a material capable of absorbing all colors of the spectrum, a discovery that might revolutionize the field of renewable energies. He is also working on the amazing hydrophobic properties of the wings in order to create an unsinkable metal; we can immediately imagine how useful it could be for the construction of floating cities if the ocean levels continue to rise.
From their wings to their antennae, the blue Morpho, the industrious Silk Moth, the astonishing and transparent Greta Oto, the resistant Heliconius, the enigmatic Monarch and the delicate white Cabbage Butterfly, inspire discoveries in many different fields such as energy efficiency, medicine and surgery or even in detecting toxics in order to save lives against terrorist chemical or gas attacks!
Researchers, biologists and geneticists, share with us their thrilling experiments, while experts – like Serge Berthier, a physicist and biomimicry expert, and Jessica Ware, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History – explain some of the butterflies' incredible behaviors and capacities.
Butterflies and moths provide lessons about what’s possible on the very smallest scales. But they also warn us about what’s at stake if we fail to protect this endlessly inventive natural environment.