Blue Morpho Butterfly
The Blue Morpho butterfly belongs to the genus Morpho that has 29 accepted species and 147 subspecies. These Neotropical butterflies inhabit central and south America and Mexico. The amazing Blue Morpho Butterfly, displaying an amazing wingspan of about 5-8 inches, belong to a group numbering 80 species, collectively categorized under the heading, Morpho Butterflies
The millions of miniscule scales on its wings account under light refraction gives off a brilliant luminous blue hue. The wings are edged black, with white flecks on the upper edges and their undersides may sport shades of brown, black, red, and even gray. These butterflies have a pale colored underside displaying false eye-spots. Blue Morpho Butterfly wings find use in jewelry, native ceremonies and wood working. They are rated as one of the largest butterflies in the world and the males, with broader and brighter wings, are more colorful than the females. While these butterflies fly, you get the impression that they are appearing and disappearing because of the alternate flashes of brilliant blue of its wings and its dull underside. In addition, these blue morphs have two fore and hind wings each, an antenna that is clubbed, six legs and a three part body segment including the head, the thorax and the abdomen. The females do not have the deep blue hue of the males and may have a light blue coloration or not at all.
The adult butterflies normally inhabit bushes at the ground level. In flight, they present a beautiful sight. They exhibit territorial tendencies, live alone, except during the mating season and zealously guard their territory against invaders. They are diurnal, and roam along rivers and streams in the forest during the mornings, and fly at speed in the dense jungle canopy. The sun energizes them and their best activity is when sunlight bears down upon them.
In their natural habitat Jacamar birds are one of the main predators for the Blue Morpho butterfly – Photo by: Jon Hanson
These c butterflies, primarily inhabit the South and Central Americas and Mexico and live in the rainforests of the Atlantic and the Amazon, among the high canopy. You also find them in the dry deciduous forests of Nicaragua. You can find them, normally living between sea level and around 1400m. Most of the adults live in the lower branches of trees and in forest shrubs and sometimes you can find them basking in open meadows.
The Blue Morph butterflies have a short lifespan of only 115 days, most of which time they spend on food and reproduction. They go through a metamorphosis phase, laying eggs, which turn into caterpillars that transform into a pupa or chrysalis and then grow into adults. The eggs that are attached to the underside of the leaves, hatch in 9 days into white spotted brown caterpillars, whose only job is to eat food and grow into the pupa. Sometimes, these caterpillars are known to show cannibalistic tendencies. Their prickly hair is a deterrent against avian predators. Finally, they form the green chrysalis and convert into a liquid form inside the pupa before transforming into the adult butterfly.
They have a diverse diet that keeps changing with their lifestyle changes. In its caterpillar form, they feed mainly by chewing on the leaves of the plants in the pea family. As an adult butterfly, they use their proboscis to suck food instead. Their food includes rotting food-juices, fluids from decomposing animals, fungi and tree sap. The sensors on their legs help them to taste the food while their antennae serve the dual functions of the nose and tongue.