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Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
The entire life cycle of a Sickle - winged Morpho butterfly from egg to caterpillar to adult to death is just 115 - 137 days. (Once they break out of the cocoon as adults, they live only about a month.)
The Sickle - winged morpho butterfly is a large butterfly species with a wingspan of up to 8 inches.
Though beautiful, they can have an unpleasant odor. When threatened, adult Sickle - winged Morpho butterflies will release a pungent smell from a gland located between their front legs. The odor helps deter predators.
They are diurnal and most active when the sun is shining. Their eyes are highly sensitive to UV light and the males are particularly adept at spotting each other across great distances.
Sickle - winged Morphos have a somewhat limited home range, being found primarily from Colombia and Venezuela to Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.
They do not have a presence in Central America as other Morpho species do.
This is a species that is highly prized by collectors.
In Peru and elsewhere these large, magnificent butterflies are killed in large numbers for the souvenir / tourist trade.
High quality specimens are put into display boxes that are sold in major towns, cities and airports.
Damaged specimens are used in the jewellery trade to make everything from earrings to paperweights.
Avg. Wingspan: 12.7 - 20.3 cm / 5 - 8 "
Diet: adults drink the juices of rotting fruit,
tree sap, decomposing animals and fungi.
* Because the Morpho dines on rotting fruit, it does not pollinate flowers.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta, Order: Lepidoptera
* Being of the Brush-footed butterfly family, Morphos have a short pair of fore legs that
are used to taste food, and two pairs of longer
rear legs that are used for propulsion.
* Blue Morphos are not actually blue. They have no pigment to make them blue.
Instead, like all butterflies, they have scales on their wings that overlap to refract light the way that a prism does. When light hits the wings, it is refracted against the scales, and gives the appearance of blue.
** There are currently 6 known subspecies of Sickle - winged Morphos.
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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