The colorful pattern on a butterfly’s wings is formed by thousands of flat scales as fine as dust.  The tiny scales overlap each other like shingles on a roof, and cover the butterfly’s wings.  With the help of a magnifying glass you can see that the scales make the colorful patterns.

The soft scales easily rub off as a powdery “butterfly dust” when something touches the wings.  Then the wings look pale and transparent.  A butterfly’s color helps it blend in with its surroundings.  The butterfly escapes its enemies by means of this protective coloration. – Dick Rogers