19 May About the Butterflies at Krohn Conservatory Part 1
Written by: Regina E., Parks Entomologist
The Blue Morpho is a large beautiful butterfly native to Mexico, Central and South America. They have dazzling iridescent blue wings with a wingspan up to 5½ inches. When perched on a tree, the eyespots on the bottom side of their wings can be seen; these eyespots help protect them from predators. When flying, the iridescent blue reflects light and the brown underneath camouflages, this creates an illusion that the Blue Morpho appears and disappears as it flaps its wings; this unique coloration adds extra protection from predators.
Blue Morphos are one of the butterflies that you will not see visiting flowers for nectar because they are frugivores, which means they prefer to feed on fruit. In their natural environment, when fruit isn’t available, they have been known to also feed on tree sap. It is also common for these lovely butterflies to feed closely together without becoming aggressive with one another, even looking quite crowded at times. Blue Morphos are definitely one of the most popular and recognized butterflies at Krohn Conservatory.
The Tiger Leafwing is a perfectly named butterfly for its coloration and shape. These butterflies are not a typical butterfly shape, they have a more jagged outline which helps them resemble dried up leaves when perched in trees. But don’t let the underside of its wings, which are mottled with black, browns and grays fool you, because when they are open, the upper side of their wings are a brilliant orange outlined with black and dotted with little bits of cream color.
Tiger Leafwings are native to regions of Mexico and south to Bolivia. They live in diverse habitats and can be found flying along water banks or in rain forests, cloud forests, or even deciduous forests. They can also be found feeding on fermenting fruit on the forest floor. At Krohn Conservatory these butterflies are fun to find perching on tree branches and on the sides of tree trunks.