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What Does a Blue Morpho Butterfly Look Like?

Updated April 17, 2017

The blue morpho butterfly, native to Central and South America, is fascinating for its metallic blue colour. Spreading from 5 to 8 inches, it is one of the largest butterflies on the planet.

Blue Butterfly?

The blue morpho looks blue, but it is not actually coloured blue. The illusion is due to microscopic scales on the top side of the butterfly's wings that reflect blue light. Underneath the scales, the wings are transparent.

Camouflage

The underside of the blue morpho's wing is brown, so when it is at rest with its wings folded, it blends into its surroundings and is thus less vulnerable.

Protective Coloration

The blue morpho has a number of large spots on the underside of each wing. The wing spots look like eyes, which serve to frighten predators.

Disappearing Act

When the blue morpho flies, the alternating of the blue and brown of the top and bottom of the wings makes it look like it is disappearing and reappearing. This serves to confuse birds or other animals that might try to eat it.

A Butterfly's Body

Like all butterflies, the blue morpho has two antennae that end in tiny clubs, two front and two rear wings and six legs. Butterflies bodies are composed of a head, thorax and abdomen.

Fun Fact

According to the St. Louis Zoo's website, the blue morpho's wings are so brilliant that aeroplane pilots can see them flying over the top of the rainforest canopy.

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About the Author

Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.