As its name implies, the Blue Morpho's wings on the top side are bright blue, edged with black. They are among the largest butterflies in the world, with wings spanning from five to eight inches. The male butterfly's wings are a little broader than the female's wings and a little brighter in color. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring is a result of the microscopic scales on the backs of their wings, which reflect light. The underside of the Blue Morpho's wings are a dull brown, however; with "eyespots" to provide camouflage against predators such as birds, animals and insects (and humans). It's hard to even spot the Blue Morpho with its wings folded as you can see in the photo on the right. When it flutters it seems to "disappear" and "reappear" because of the contrast between the bright blue and dull brown of its wings in flight.
My little fellow fluttered around me for several minutes and then landed on my foot where he stayed for several more minutes, allowing me enough time to photograph him in all of his blue beauty. He seemed to be in no hurry to leave and only when I gently moved my foot to walk away did he then flutter away himself. I think that he was attracted to my teal blue toenail polish!
The Blue Morpho is severely threatened, as are many of the world's other butterflies, by the deforestation of the tropical forests and habitat fragmentation. Humans are also a threat as collectors from around the world capture the beautiful butterfly for displaying. I saw my little friend, however; in a butterfly park dedicated to protecting them. The many Blue Morphos there provided a lovely mosaic of flickering color in the foliage.
Butterflies, like birds and bees, are among the great pollinators of the world. But the pollinators have suffered and are declining because of habitat loss, chemical use, invasive animal predators and human actions. We must remember that they are a necessary and lovely part of the world's environment and ecosystem. Although I would wish for more protection worldwide, I am glad that there are at least butterfly sanctuaries to give them a protected home.