The Blue Morpho, Morpho peleides
The Blue Morpho’s stunning iridescent blue wings make this species one of the most noticeable in Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.
Their dorsal (upper) wing surface is bright, iridescent blue edged with black. In contrast, the ventral (lower) surface is dull brown and covered in eye spots. This colouring camouflages them from predators when resting with their wings closed. When in flight, the flashing contrasting wing surfaces create the illusion that the Blue Morpho is disappearing and reappearing. With a wing span of 13 – 20 cm, the Blue Morpho is one of the largest butterflies in the world. Males are slightly bigger and brighter than females.
The Blue Morpho is native to Central and South America. They occur in rain forests, where adults can usually be found in the understory resting on the forest floor or low trees and shrubs. However, when searching for a mate, the Blue Morpho will fly through all forest layers, and sometimes can be found sunning at the highest tree tops. The caterpillars prefer to feed on plants in the pea family, while adults feed from rotting fruit, decomposing animals, sap, fungi, and mud. The entire Blue Morpho life cycle lasts 115 days and the adult lives for about 2 weeks.