|Common Morpho Butterfly - Morpho peleides |
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies) / Range: Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela
Captive live butterflies photographed at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, Illinois
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Common morpho butterflies have brightly-colored, blue metallic upper wings. Their undersides, visible while the butterfly is at rest, are cryptic camouflage featuring 4 sets of "eyespots." The metallic colors are products of iridescence, not pigment; the scales covering the wings (almost all lepidoptera have scale-covered wings) reflect incident light repeatedly at successive layers, leading to interference that most effectively yields wavelengths in the green-blue range (450-550 nm), depending on the angle at which they are viewed. Many creatures great and small exhibit iridescence, and it has been shown to have evolved independantly in several instances.
|The morphos are largely confined to the tropical rainforest and other similar tropical habitats. The raising of butterflies like these for use in butterfly exhibits worldwide has become a viable economic engine for many indigenous peoples - giving them incentive to protect their irreplaceable rainforests.|
Learn to identify many of the American Midwest's common species through descriptions and large diagnostic photos of live, wild specimens.
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