Why Don't Raindrops Bomb Butterfly Wings? | The Institute for Creation Research

Why Don't Raindrops Bomb Butterfly Wings?

Okay, I admit most folks have probably not thought to ask this creation question. But a bigger question gets answered when we examine the fantastic butterfly features that counter the force of falling raindrops.

Butterfly wings are quite thin. How do these tiny creatures cope with raindrops that land at 22 miles per hour? Cornell scientist Sunghwan Jung led a project that tested water drop impacts at real raindrop speeds.1 It turns out that special surface structures on butterfly wings manage the drop impacts, which Professor Jung compared to the force of bowling balls falling from the sky on humans!2

How do these special surfaces manage killer raindrops?

At the level seen only with a microscope, we find the wings covered in rough bumps. If a drop hits flat on a sheet of glass, its force spreads in a widening wave. But when a raindrop hits a butterfly wing, the tiny bumps rupture that spreading force so that one big drop shatters into dozens of tiny droplets.

Zoom in even closer to nanoscopic levels and we find wax structures that make the wings water-resistant. The droplets bounce right off. Without them, water would stay on the wings longer, and that would wick too much heat from tiny insect bodies. The research team found that this ingenious, thin surface cuts the water contact time by 70%.1 The wings stay dry and whole, and the tiny flying animals stay warm and airborne.

So, these scientists found the answer to our question: Butterfly wings resist raindrop power using clever micro-bumps and nano-waxes. The researchers also discovered these structures on dragonfly and moth wings, plant leaves, and even bird feathers.

That leads us to the bigger question: If these amazing features help keep these creatures alive and in flight, how did such structures arise?

Many scientists attribute creature designs to random changes guided by natural factors over eons. But whoever crafted these super-surfaces must have done it with flight in mind right from the start. These surfaces combine with the lightweight but strong materials and structures, navigation systems, functional landing gear, and aerodynamic shapes that all work together to make a butterfly flutter. Nature knows nothing, let alone the precise placement of parts required for flight. Truly the Lord Jesus, not natural processes, deserves all the credit for rainproofing butterfly wings before the first rain fell.

References

  1. Kim, S. et al. 2020. How a raindrop gets shattered on biological surfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117 (25): 13901-13907.
  2. Ramanujan, K. Armor on butterfly wings protects against heavy rain. Cornell Chronicle. Posted on cornell.edu on June 8, 2020, accessed June 15, 2020.

* Dr. Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.

Cite this article: Brian Thomas, Ph.D. 2020. Why Don't Raindrops Bomb Butterfly Wings?. Acts & Facts. 49 (8).

The Latest
NEWS
Stasis and More Stasis in Living Fossils
Living fossils have been a challenge to evolutionists ever since Darwin coined the phrase in 1859.1,2 They are members of a living species...

NEWS
Scaly Skin on a Feathered Dinosaur?
Fossil experts from University College Cork in Ireland took stunning images of Psittacosaurus skin. The dinosaurs’ belly shows patches of skin...

NEWS
Florida Fossil Shows Porcupines Have Always Been Porcupines
The porcupine is an animal (rodent) that one does not soon forget. It is armed with formidable quills that deter even the hungriest predators. What...

NEWS
Webb Telescope Discovers Another Record-Breaking Galaxy
Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have recently confirmed that two galaxies are extremely distant, with one becoming the new record holder...

CREATION PODCAST
The Power of Film & Video: Reaching All Ages with Truth | The...
Is there a place for the use of film and video within Christianity? If so, how can we leverage this powerful tool to reach viewers of all ages...

NEWS
New Titanosaur Species Discovered in Uruguay and Argentina
The pre-Flood world had some truly massive dinosaurs, and the largest of them were in the group Sauropodomorpha.1 Within this group were...

NEWS
T. rex Not as Smart as Thought
Have movies and most conventional paleontologists got it all wrong? T. rex and other theropod dinosaurs (the meat-eaters) are often portrayed as intelligent...

NEWS
June 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) ICR June...

NEWS
A “Just-so” Story About Ancient Genes
An evolutionary website recently published “a groundbreaking study” that supposedly identifies a basic, uncomplicated, “simple”...

CREATION PODCAST
Dinosaurs with Bird Brains??? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Evolutionists claim that birds are descended from dinosaurs. A feature that is often cited as linking these two types of creatures is the brain....