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  • Blue Morpho - (Morpho peleides)

    Blue Morpho - (Morpho peleides)

    The huge Blue Morpho flashes its bold sapphire color when resting with wings open.

    Staff Writer (1/5/2016): The large, tropical Blue Morpho butterfly common in the tropical parts of Central America, but its range also includes the southern parts of North America in Mexico. The wingspan of this giant beauty can stretch to almost 8 inches (20 cm) across. They are shy and tend to fluttering away from objects (or people) approaching it. The quick flashes of blue color seen as they flap their wings are thought to distract or confuse predators. The rich color is made possible by reflective scales that cover the wings. Each iridescent scale contributes to the overall saturated hue seen by human eyes. The direction and intensity of light directly impacts the shade of blue one will see, so a moving butterfly may appear to change hues while in flight. The neutral-colored underside of the wing is more often visible as they perch on flowers with their wings closed. Four eyespots on the hindwing, the first of which is substantially larger than the rest, may also act to confuse a predator. The underside of the forewing has three eyespots of varying sizes. The edges are lined with vibrant orange. The wings are fragile and the scales are delicate and can rub off with wear and tear as well as touching.

    Blue Morphos tend to live in group. Their lifespan is less than 4 months. Living in close proximity helps maintain a population and provides single butterflies instant assistance in distracting predators with their many eyespots and flickers of cobalt blue. Caterpillars are reddish brown and black with large spots of yellow on them. The head, underbelly and rear are covered with tufts of stinging white and brown hairs. Caterpillars eat the leaves of clover and legumes found in the Pea plant family. Adults drink the juices of spoiling tropical fruits. Some of these juices may have started fermenting as they rot, producing an alcohol by-product which may make the butterflies slightly inebriated as they feed.

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    Details of the:
    Blue Morpho

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Blue Morpho
    Scientific Name: Morpho peleides

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Morpho
            Species: peleides

    Size (Adult, Length): 65mm to 80mm (2.56in to 3.15in)

    Identifying Colors: blue, black, brown, white, orange, tan, green

    Additional Descriptors: flying, beneficial

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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