Blue Morpho butterfly

(Morpho peleides)


Facts

Blue Morpho butterfly IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)

 

Facts about this animal

Adult blue morphos spend most of their time on the forest floor and in the lower shrubs and trees of the understory with their wings folded. However, when looking for mates, the blue morpho will fly through all layers of the forest and even above the treetops

The blue morpho’s diet changes throughout each stage of its lifecycle. As a caterpillar, it chews leaves of many varieties, but prefers to feed on plants in the pea family. When it becomes a butterfly it will drink its food using its long, protruding proboscis as a drinking straw to sip the juice of rotting fruit, the fluids of decomposing animals, tree sap, fungi and wet mud. Blue morphos taste fruit with sensors on their legs, and they "taste-smell" the air with their antennae, which serve as a combined tongue and nose. The blue morpho’s entire lifespan lasts only 115 day.

Blue morphos are severely threatened by deforestation of tropical forests, habitat fragmentation, and collection for the production of decorative items. Jacamar and flycatchers are the adult butterfly’s natural predators.

Did you know?
how blue morpho caterpillars turn into blue morpho butterflies? Like all butterflies, they make an amazing transformation known as metamorphosis. First, eggs hatch into larvae, better known as caterpillars. Blue morpho caterpillars aren't blue at all: they're reddish-brown with bright patches of lime green on the back. After a while the caterpillars wrap themselves in protective enclosures, called chrysalises. At this stage the insects are called pupae. After some time, pupation ends and the mature butterflies emerge from their chrysalises.


 

Factsheet
Class INSECTA
Order LEPIDOPTERA
Suborder PAPILIONOIDEA
Family MORPHIDAE
Name (Scientific) Morpho peleides
Name (English) Blue Morpho butterfly
Name (French) Papillon Morpho bleu
Name (German) Blauer Morphofalter
Name (Spanish) Morfo azul
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed

 

 

Photo Copyright by
Bilboq

Distribution

 


Distribution
Range From Mexico through Central America to Colombia and Venezuela; Trinidad..
Habitat Tropical rain forest.
Wild population No data. The species has not yet been classified by the IUCN
Zoo population Only two institutions reported Morpho peleides to ISIS (2008), which certinly does not reflect reality.

In the Zoo

Blue Morpho butterfly

 

How this animal should be transported

For air transport of caterpillars, Container Note 63 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed. There is no Container Requirement for pupae.

 

Find this animal on ZooLex

 

Photo Copyright by
Manfred Heyde

Why do zoos keep this animal

The blue morpho is one of the most conspicuous butterfly species and is therefore a good amabassador species for the conservation of neotropical forests.