Q:

What facts are known on the blue morpho butterfly?

A:

Quick Answer

A number of species of morpho butterflies have blue wing coloration, but the main species referred to as blue morpho are the Menelaus Blue Morpho and the Peleides Blue Morpho. Both are found in Central and South America, and both species have similar diets and habitats.

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Full Answer

The iridescent blue color on the wings of the blue morpho butterfly is due to tiny light-reflecting scales. The underside of the wings, however, is brown, so when blue morphos fly, they seem to wink in and out of visibility. Their wingspans of 5 to 8 inches place them among the largest butterflies in the world. They are often seen in clearings and along streams where their bright wings can be easily spotted. Pilots sometimes notice large groups of them sunning themselves above the treetops. Blue morpho caterpillars eat leaves, but once they become butterflies, they are restricted to a liquid diet. They have a long, straw-like mouth part called a proboscis with which they sip tree sap, fungi, nutrient mud, decomposing animals and fermenting fruit.

Deforestation has threatened the habitats of the blue morpho butterfly. In addition, the various species of morpho butterfly are highly sought after by collectors, who value the brilliant colors of the wings. There are also a number of species of birds that prey upon the blue morpho butterfly.

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