Scales of the Papilio nireus combine fluorophores confined in a natural photonic structure. By means of numerical simulations based on the scattering-matrix formalism, we reveal the bi-functional optical role of this peculiar architecture. Two aspects are considered: the absorption of an incident light flux and the emission of another luminous flux. First, results highlight a light trapping effect and a light absorption increase in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared ranges. Then, results highlight an enhanced fluorescence occurring in the spatial as well as in the frequency domain. This observation could be of great interest to design new optical devices.