Common Morpho Butterfly

Common Morpho Butterfly – Morpho peleides

Common Morpho dorsal view

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 rainforests.

Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.
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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