Friday, July 24, 2009

Blue Morpho Butterflies in Costa Rica

My parents went to Costa Rica in February of this year. They were able to visit a butterfly farm with many tropical butterflies of Costa Rica.  One of the butterflies they saw was my favorite butterfly, the Blue Morpho. They were able to get some pictures of this beautiful butterfly. I did research on the internet to find out more about these butterflies.

blue butterfly These are Blue Morpho butterflies. They live in the Tropical forests of Latin America from Mexico to Columbia. Their wings serve as a special defense. When an enemy approaches the butterfly uses its wings to flash bright light in their eyes. This temporary blindness confuses the enemy causing them to flee.

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When the Blue Morpho needs camouflage they simply close their wings revealing a brown color. This color helps them blend into the trees. The “eye spots” on their wings also are used as camouflage.

Morpho eggs

These tiny eggs were laid by the Blue Morpho butterfly. The eggs take eight or nine days to hatch. The eggs are green when first laid and then begin to turn brown as they near hatching. After hatching, the caterpillar will begin eating the leaves of its host plant. Blue Morpho caterpillars eat Mucuna and peanut plants. When the caterpillar becomes to big for its skin it will shed it off. The time between the shedding of skin is called an Instar.

To see pictures of a Blue Morpho caterpillar hatching please visit http://www.pbase.com/10kzoomfz/mw_btfy_bluemorpho 

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The Blue Morpho caterpillar will eat for about eleven weeks to reach the size of three and a half inches. That’s a big caterpillar! After searching for the perfect branch it will spin a silk pad to attach itself to. After hanging upside down for hours it will finally split its skin and reveal a beautiful green chrysalis. It will hang in the chrysalis for about two weeks until it is ready emerge as a Blue Morpho Butterfly.

Blue Morpho Facts

1. There are around 50 different species of Blue Morpho butterflies.

2. Their wings can be 5 to 8 inches in width.

3. Blue Morpho adults like to drink from rotting fruit!

4. The caterpillars are red-brown with patches of lime-green on the back area.

5. Blue Morpho caterpillars are Nocturnal creatures.

Blue Morpho butterflies are severely threatened because of deforestation of tropical forests. Thankfully there are people working to stop this.  I found a web-site that has an Adopt-A-Rainforest program to help stop rainforest destruction.  http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/aar.cfm?id=main

 

1 comment:

  1. I love the morpho butterfly! I also fell in love with it in Costa Rica. Later today I am posting a morpho craft to do with kids:).

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