Blue morpho (Morpho helenor peleides, or sometimes just Morpho peleides) are native to tropical Central and South America, and are very popular in our Butterfly Rainforest. The iridescent blue dorsal (top) sides of their wings are eye-catching. The color is caused by diffraction of light on their wing scales rather than pigment. The ventral (bottom) sides of their wings are mostly brown, with a varying number of eyespots. With a wingspan of 5 to 8 inches across, they prefer open spaces along the edges of forests and rivers.
Blue morphos feed on decaying fruit instead of flowers, and prefer a wide variety of host plants, many in the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. They have five instars or molts before entering their pupal stage, and then emerge as adults. Their entire life span is less than 120 days.
• University of Florida’s Entomology & Nematology website: Blue morpho (Morpho peleides)
• Learn more about the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity at the Florida Museum.
• Visit the Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest