Hi guys! At the request of my Mum I have been asked to do a post all about one of her favourite animals, butterflies. Now when I say butterfly effect I don’t mean the chaos theory of how small things can have a huge impact on a bigger picture, e.g. a butterflies wing beat resulting in the creation of a tornado (impossible I know, but that is the example for the official concept). No, when I say the butterfly effect, I mean the effect these extraordinary insects have on us with their beautiful colours and patterns. In this post I will give a brief summary of the butterfly and will discuss my personal top ten most stunningly beautiful butterflies.
So, what is a butterfly really?
Butterflies are one of most diverse and, of course, beautiful, insects in the world. Butterflies are part of the macrolepidopteran clade, Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies tend to have very short life spans ranging from a week to nearly a year. There are more than 250,000 species of butterfly, from the smallest, the Western pygmy blue to the largest, the Queen Alexandria’s bird wing. Butterflies appear in a wide varieties of colors and patterns.
Now then, time for you to see some of the World’s most incredible examples of these insects.
Ten: the dead leaf butterfly
Though this butterfly may not be what you think of when I say beautiful examples of butterfly, it is truly incredible. It is an outstanding example of camouflage with the irregular patterns and veins on the wings making it look just like a dead leaf. Unlike the underpart of the wing, the upper part is appears in a number of vibrant colours including blue, brown, white and orange. They are also known as Indian leaf butterflies and are native to tropical Asian forests from India to Japan.
Nine: the monarch butterfly
This was probably the first butterfly that popped into your head when I said this post would be about butterflies, right? Native to North America, the monarch butterfly is recognisable world wide with its orange, black and white colour scheme. It is considered an iconic pollinator species and is the state insect for Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. The only reason it is ranked ninth on this list is because I have found some truly beautiful examples of these insects.
Eight: the forest giant owl butterfly
These fascinating insects are well known for their wing patterns which look like owl eyes. This is another incredible adaptation in the butterfly kingdom, which is designed to frighten potential predators with the eyes of their predators (bare in mind that butterflies are chiefly preyed on by small birds). They are native to South and Central America and have a wingspan of 13-16 cm. They mainly feed on fruits and have a lifespan between 125 days and 150 days.
Seven: the blue morpho
Stunning isn’t it? The blue morpho is one of the largest butterflies with a wingspan of 5-6 inches. They are mainly found in the Amazon Rainforest, but have been found in Central America as well. They are easily recognised due their vibrant shade of blue, making them a firm favourite for butterfly lovers. Male blue morpho appear brighter and more beautiful than the females. Like many other butterflies, the morpho can camouflage itself from potential predators by folding up their wings, showing a pattern of brown with a number of eyespots.
Six: the sylphina angel
These pretty butterflies are distributed across Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. They spend most of their time beneath the leaves of plants and only take flight during full sunlight when their transparent wings act as camouflage as it makes them practically invisible under the full beam of the Sun. The sylphina angel likes to fly and search for food alone, but on clear days they are also found in groups of tens to hundreds of butterflies. They can migrate to a distance up to 320 km during Spring to find nectar rich flowers.
Five: the eighty eight butterfly
This stunning butterfly is native to South and Central America and are obviously known as this due to the distinctive pattern on their wings. They have a wingspan of 35-40 mm and mainly feed on rotten fruit. The numbering on these butterflies can be found in 12 different species of diaethria butterfly, but the colouring and pattern slightly differs across each of the species.
Four: the crowned hairstreak
This rare butterfly is a gorgeous native of the are between Southern Mexico and Ecuador and is also known by an equally flashy name, Evenus coronata. It can also come in a green colour. The wingspan can range up to 60 mm in males. Other than that, not much is known about this butterfly. I personally look forward to more discoveries being made about this rare species and I think, that you’ve seen it, you may be as well.
Three: the kaiser-i-hind
Sharing its name with that of an Indian medal for public service awarded by the Emperor/ Empress of India between 1900 and 1947, this butterfly is highly sought after by butterfly collectors for its beautiful green iridescent wings. This swallowtail butterfly found in Nepal, India and Vietnam. The name literally translates to “emperor of India” and it really is. It is very fast and strong in flight, flying at tree-top level until it chooses to descend. The kaiser-i-hind is subject to much research due to their rarity and beauty and is a keystone species for conservation of high-altitude forest. In my personal opinion, this butterfly is even more stunning than the medal it shares its name with.
Two: the island marble butterfly
A subspecies of butterfly found only in the San Juan Islands in Washington, USA, the island marble is truly phenomenal in beauty. In 1908, it was thought that this incredible butterfly had gone extinct, but in 1998, it was discovered during a prairie butterfly survey in San Juan Island National Historical Park. This butterfly is extremely rare and, though it is not yet listed as endangered, it is noted on the Washington State Species of Concern List.
One: the amber phantom butterfly
Behold the amber phantom! This stunning species of butterfly truly takes the biscuit in my opinion. This species can be found in the Guianas, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela. These unique butterflies have transparent wings and are often found close to bamboo. They inhabit deeply shaded rainforests. The amber phantom butterfly is crepuscular, meaning that it is active in twilight and is rarely seen in full sunlight.
There you have guys! My top ten most stunningly beautiful butterflies, feel free to comment on my post if you felt that I was missing a really gorgeous species of butterfly, just bare in mind that I could only choose ten and I spent a long time debating my choices. To see more extraordinarily beautiful examples of butterflies, I firmly suggest you check out https://blog.allmyfaves.com/animals/top-10-most-beautiful-butterflies-of-the-world/