Colorful butterflies and some moths are near-universal symbols of natural beauty, but Linden Gladhill, a biochemist, and photographer has created a stunning set of macro photography shots that introduce us to the natural beauty of butterflies and moths on a macro level unobservable by the human eye.

The highly-magnified (between 7 and 17 times life-size) photos of butterfly wings show the scales that cover their wings and that comprise the beautiful patterns that we see. In fact, butterflies and moths both belong to the scientific order Lepidoptera, which means “scaly wing.” Besides defining the butterfly’s colors, the scales also help these insects fly and regulate their temperature. If you’ve ever touched a butterfly or moth wing, the fine dust that they lave behind consists of these scales.

Gladhill blows away the stereotype that some people hold that scientists are cold and inartistic people; “I’m completely enchanted by the physical world around me and obsessed by its natural beauty. My career in science has magnified this feeling of awe. For me, taking these beautiful pictures is a way to capture this physical beauty and to pass this feeling on to others,” he writes on his Flickr account. Which you should definitely check out, by the way, because the cool photos we have here are just a drop in the bucket!

Source: Flickr | via: colossal