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Science of butterfly vision and body temperature: short wave: NPR



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

Omar Torres / AFP via Getty Images

Adriana Briscoe, professor of biology and ecology at UC Irvine, is studying vision in butterflies. It turns out that butterflies are really cool. For example, they can be taught to detect light of a certain color – which she did in her research.

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

Plus you never know where their photoreceptors are.

We also discuss the importance of faculty and mentors in diversifying the areas of STEM that Adriana has written about.

Send the show to shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was prepared by Rebecca Ramirez and Brent Buffman, edited by Deb George, and the fact was verified by Rebecca Ramirez.


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