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



Monarch butterflies, such as 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, such as 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 the vision of butterflies. The butterflies turned out to be 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’ve never thought of: Why do they bask in the sun? And why do some of them have hearts in their wings?

Plus, you’ll never guess where their photoreceptors are.

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

Email the tour to shortwave@npr.org.

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


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