Butterflies – Blue Morpho – Morpho peleides
The above Blue Morpho butterfly was photographed at the Carleton University Exhibit in 2011.
The Blue Morpho is a large butterfly (12 cm or more) which is commonly on exhibit at live butterfly displays. It is definitely a favourite when it flutters around a conservatory flashing the bright, shimmering blue of its upper wing surfaces. The blue Morpho has multiple eye spots on its underwing while the other large butterfly in many exhibitions, the Owl butterfly, has only one eyespot when its wings are closed.
The fluorescent blue coloration displayed by the Blue Morph is a result of reflected light rather than a dye and therefore is most brilliant when seen in a brightly lit conservatory. In diminished light, the wing changes color from blue to a brown. The adult feeds on the juices of rotting fruits and is therefore often feeding next to the Owl butterfly which also favours tropical fruit juices. In its natural surroundings, the Blue Morpho can be found in the rain forests of South America and in Central America and Mexico as well as some of the Caribbean islands. Because of the high demand from ‘live’ butterfly exhibitions, this is one species of butterfly that is raised in commercial butterfly farms.
The above open-wing shot showing the blue upper surface was taken at Butterfly World in Fort Lauderdale.