Blue Morpho Butterfly Facts | Diet, Habitat, Behavior, Lifecycle

The blue morpho butterfly (morpho) is one of the nestropical subspecies of butterfly that occur in the Central America, Mexico, and South America. It truly lives up to its name as the color of its wings is primarily blue with some shades of green metallic. In a bright sunny day, they give a stunning look especially when sunlight reflects at successive layers.

Blue Morpho Butterfly Facts For Kids

Anatomy

  • Blue morph butterflies have developed blue-colored wings with some greenish shades on it that becomes visible when the light reflects on it wings. Some morphs however show tawny orange to dark brown plumage while others are nearly all white.
  • It has a 7.5-cm (3-in) long wingspan.
  • Depends on the angle, the color seems slightly different from different view. However blue color is always dominant.
  • The ridges have a zig-zag pattern and it looks more like a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree-shape thus reduces the direction of the light when it casts upon on the wings. Furthermore, the pattern also disrupts the unnecessary interference from other wavelengths.
  • The morpho’s wing actively responds to any material surroundings and temperature change—the very behavior that protects them from any possible threats.
  • The flying butterfly reflects on brilliant blue to a dull brown plumage during flight.

Distribution & Habitat

  • Blue morphs are thought to live in the primary forests of Atlantic and Amazon. They make homes in several different habitats including dry deciduous woodlands (Nicaragua) as well as occupying secondary forests.
  • Morphos will survive at elevations of about 1,400 m (4,600 ft) above sea level.
blue morpho butterfly facts
Blue Morpho Butterfly in Costa Rica ©kidworldcitizen.org

Behavior

  • Nearly all morphos are diurnal, spend the day flying across rivers and forest streams.
  • Blue morphos are highly territorial and they might not hesitate to chase down the rival.
  • Outside the breeding season, morphos are solitary creatures.
  • They take a fairly strong flight so much so that even the flying predators find it hard to catch them while flying.
  • While in captivity they don’t seem to be successful because morphos have an irregular flight pattern and size. They can easily damage their beautiful wings.
  • Predators of blue morph butterflies include jacamars, frogs, royal, flycatchers, lizards, and birds.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • The blue morph butterfly eats tree sap, nutrient-rich mud, decomposing animals as well as consumes fluids of fermenting fruits.
  • Morpho larvae will feed on many different plant species such as Sapindaceae, Rhamnaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Musaceae, Palmae, Menispermaceae, Myrtaceae, Moraceae, Lauraceae, Tiliaceae, Bignoniaceae, Menispermaceae, Leguminosae, Gramineae, Canellaceae, Guttiferae, and Erythroxylaceae.

Lifecycle

  • The average time period of morph’s lifecycle is almost 4 months—from egg to death. However the lifespan of an adult butterfly is about 15 – 20 days.
  • Larvae show pale green color while caterpillars seem to possess reddish-brown bodies. There are little yellow patches on the back of caterpillars.
  • They have got hairs that are quite irritating to the human skin. It also produces a strong pungent smell which indeed serves as a defense against potential predators.
  • During the caterpillar stage, the insect molts 5 times before going into the pupal stage.

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