From a drab-colored to the highly sophisticated multicolored ones — each and every species of butterfly has its own beauty to bragged about. But not all possess unique and distinctive features. So taking all these criteria in mind, Here is a list of the world’s most beautiful and eye-catching butterflies. Read on to learn more.
Butterflies are such dainty creatures – its beauty capable of mesmerizing even a stoic heart. Many have been awed at the transformation of a fragile caterpillar into a splendid butterfly! Each and every species of butterfly has its own beauty to bragged about. Picking the most beautiful and eye-catching butterflies is a very hard task to compile assuming one goes with the old saying ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’
Nevertheless, to have a less taxing decision, the author deemed it necessary to add another criteria — picking those species of butterfly with distinctive feature/features. Here goes the author’s list of the world’s most beautiful and eye-catching butterflies.
Blue Morpho Butterfly
The Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho menelaus), is any of about 50 different species of butterfly, known for its metallic blue upper wings with brown patches along the edges. The microscopic structures of its wings reflect light, thus producing bright blue wings. However, the flip side of its wings shows a dull brown color with bronze-colored eyespots. The species is widespread in South and Central America and prefers rainforests as habitat.
The species is one of the world’s biggest butterfly, with a wingspan that can reach 7.5 to 20 cm (5- 8 inches.) Blue morpho has a short lifespan – lasting only 115 days. The reddish brown colored caterpillar with lime-green patches on the back) chews leaves of plants to survive. Adults sip the juices of rotting fruits using their straw-like proboscis.
Blue morphos population is severely threatened by habitat caused by dwindling tropical forests. Also, adult butterfly are easy prey to birds such as flycatcher and jacamar.
Goliath Birdwing Butterfly
The Goliath Birdwing (Ornithoptera goliath) is a large butterfly native to rainforests of New Guinea. The world’s second-largest butterfly, the eye-catching butterfly has a wingspan reaching 28 centimeters (11 in). The species can be identified by its black, yellow and green wings. Females are larger than males.
During mating season, a male Goliath birdwing flies high up the forest’s canopy in pursuit of females. After it detected its target, the male butterfly folds its wing and nose-dive to tree level to mate.
Another eye-catching and beautiful butterfly, the Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io) is widespread in the UK. It got its name from the stunning eye patterns on its wings, similar to the tail feather pattern of the peacock. Peacock butterfly is a very large with wingspans of 64 mm (2.5 inches.) Another distinctive feature of the species is its almost black flip side wings, which serve as an intimidating camouflage against any predator.
Caterpillars sport black, spine-covered body with patches of white spots. It can reach 4.2 centimeters in length. It feeds primarily on Common (stinging) Nettle. After coming out of hibernation, adults mate. Females lay up to 400 eggs in large, irregular clusters on the undersides of young nettle leaves. Adults can live up to 11 months.
Question Mark Butterfly
The Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) is easily recognized by the shiny silver markings on its hindwing, resembling a ‘question mark’. During summer, the question mark is mostly black with a short tail. The butterfly’s upperside is red-orange with black spots while the underside is light brown in color. The wingspan is about 5.7 – 7.6 cm (2 1/4 – 3 inches).
The largest of all the angelwings, the species is widespread throughout most of the eastern U.S. and southern Canada. Its preferred habitat includes: wooded swamps, stream banks, suburbs, city parks, and fencerows. The male keeps its wings closed vertically while basking on foliage or tree trunks, giving it an appearance of a dried leaf.
The larvae (caterpillar) of the question mark feed on a variety of host plants including nettles, Japanese hop, elms, and hackberry. Adults feed on rotting fruit, carrion, and tree sap. From spring until the end of May, females lays eggs stacked under leaves of plants. The young larvae must then find their food source to survive. The adults may live for eight months.
The Ulysses Butterfly is any of 16 species of swallowtail butterflies found in tropical rain forests in Australia, Indonesia, and other nearby islands. The species is also known as the Blue Mountain Swallowtail, the Mountain Blue and the Blue Emperor.
A spectacular and eye-catching butterfly, males are easily recognized by their iridescent blue-green with black edges appearance. Females are more lighter in color. Both have a long “swallowtail” and a wingspan of about 14 cm (5.5 inches.) Males are attracted to most blue objects.
Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
The Zebra Swallowtail (Protographium marcellu), is another beautiful swallowtail butterfly, widespread throughout the eastern United States and southeast Canada. The species prefers deciduous woodlands, prairies, and savannas. It got its name for the long “tails” on its hindwings — resembling the long, pointed tails of swallows (a type of bird).
The species has characteristic black and white markings and a pair of sword-like tails. The upperside of the wings show black stripes on greenish-white background. Also, the hindwings sport tiny red and blue markings. It has a wingspan of about 6.4 – 10.4 cm (2 1/2 – 4 inches.)
The caterpillar is normally green in color with imposing black band and rows of yellow stripes. Showing cannibalistic behavior, it will consume its eggshell and then feed on host plants such as pawpaw, hornbeam, spicebush. Adults sip nectar of berries and milkweed.