The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly alive

The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly alive

An adult insect wing is basically dead. So what in the world were tiny respiratory channels doing in a wing membrane of a morpho dragonfly? Rhainer Guillermo Ferreira was so jolted by a scanning electron microscope image showing what looked like skinny, branching tracheal tubes in a morpho wing that he called in another entomologist for a second opinion. Guillermo Ferreira, then at Kiel University in Germany, showed the image to a colleague who also was “shocked,” he remembers. A third entomologist was called in. Shock all around.

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