Saturday, November 13, 2010
I took this pic in the butterfly house at the San Antonio Zoo. This butterfly was so frustrating! It would show its beautiful wings while flying, then close up immediately when it landed, so all I could get a photo of was its camouflaged underside. But this time, it landed in the bushes, and the foliage kept its wings open. Ah ha! Got cha!
I thought that the Blue Mopho was the only morpho. Turns out, there are 80 different species, and some are white, not blue. This one may be Morpho richardius, but I really don't know.
That color in the wing is not pigment, but what the entomologists call structural color. It is like a rainbow in the sky or on the surface of a compact disc. When you move the disc, the color moves, and it is clear that it is a type of reflection, not a pigment that is on the disc. Well, butterflies have scales on their wings that reflect in certain wavelengths, creating certain colors. That is how the blue in the morphos are formed.
I just learned in wikipedia that the caterpillars defend themselves by smelling of rotten butter and squealing when touched. Most butterflies can't hear. I wonder if they can hear themselves.....?.........