Nymphalidae, Morpho 1, 2, 3, 4

Cypris morpho, Morpho cypris

Morpho cypris, Cypris morpho

Morpho cypris, above, is found in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ecuador.

The photograph above is of a male. Its wing span is from 12 - 14 cm. The underside of the wings are brown and white. Males are territorial, and will chase off any other butterflies from their area, except for females of their own species. The female is not so brightly coloured, and is orange and yellow with a brown margin. She is quite often larger than the male. Both sexes drink the sugary sap that flows from trees, and juices from fermenting fruits.

Blue-banded morpho, Morpho achilles

Morpho achilles, Blu-banded morpho

The Blue-banded morpho female, above is found in the wild in the rain forests of central and south America. The underside of the wings is brown with a row of eyespots running over the fore and rear wings. In flight the bright blue band of the upper wing appears to flash as the butterfly opens and closes its wings. This makes it difficult for birds to catch it. When it is attacked by a bird the butterfly snaps its wings closed and drops to the ground leaving the bird to search for a flash of blue which is no longer there. Adults feed on the fermenting juices in rotting fruits and tree sap.

Caterpillars feed on various foodplants, mostly climbers.

Morpho menelaus, Blue morpho

Blue morpho, Morpho menelaus

Above is the blue morpho. It is found in the wild in Central and South America. The adult wingspan can reach 15 cm. Males have brighter colours than the females, and in both sexes the underside of the wings is brown with a row of eye spots running over the fore and hind wings. Adults drink juice from rotting fruit, and have taste sensors ion their legs. Because the juice they drink often contains alcohol the butterflies can become intoxicated, and these individuals are easy to catch. They will also feed on liquids from dead animals and fungi. Adults tend to stay high up in the forest canopy at rest with their wings closed, this makes them highly camouflaged. Adult males are territorial, and will chase off other males. Caterpillars are nocturnal, and can be cannibalistic.

Sunset morpho, Morpho hecuba

Sunset morpho, Morpho hecuba

Morpho hecuba, the Sunset morpho above, is the largest species in the Morpho genus with a wingspan that can reach 20 cm, it is usually around 15 cm. It is found in the Amazon basin and in Guiana. Individuals will fly up to 30 km in search of a mate.

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