Glasswing Butterfly Including the Pink Glasswing Butterfly
Greta oto is the scientific name for this exquisitely unique butterfly. The glasswing butterfly (its most common English name) is delicate in appearance, beautiful, and exotic. The glasswing butterfly’s Spanish name is "espejitos", which means "little mirrors." Indeed, the wings of the butterfly do at times reflect the colors around them the way a mirror might.
The glasswing butterfly does not have colored scales patterning the areas between the veins of its wings like most butterflies and since those areas are translucent, they appear like glass, which accounts for the name. Their wingspan is usually between 2.2 inches and 2.4 inches. The edges of its wings are dark brown and sometimes have a red or orange tint to them. The body is dark colored.
Glasswing Butterfly Reproduction and Feeding Habits
Glasswing female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on tropical flowering plants in the Solanaceae family that can be found in Florida, Texas, and as far south as Chile. These plants are one to four feet high and usually evergreen. All parts of these plants are toxic and will cause severe abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting, if eaten.
The caterpillars of the glasswing butterfly are green, blending in well with the foliage of the plants where they hatch, as do most caterpillars. The caterpillars eat the toxic plants, such as nightshades, oleanders, and dogbane which are deadly, and it is thought the caterpillars may be toxic themselves as a result.
The adult butterfly is believed to be toxic as well because the males feed on flowers that have poisonous nectar. The toxic substances in these flowers are pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which in the male glasswing butterfly convert into pheromones that attract the females for mating.
The glasswing also feeds on the droppings of insect eating birds to obtain its requirements of amino acids (proteins).
Glasswing Butterfly Range
Preferring the rainforest, the range of the glasswing butterfly is from Mexico to Panama, and Costa Rica, and as far south as Venezuela. It is a migratory butterfly.
Costa Rica has at least 64 different species of glasswing butterflies that may fly as far as seven to eight miles over the course of a day in its travels. It can fly as fast as 8 miles an hour for short periods of time and has the ability to carry 40 times its own weight! While it looks dainty, it is in fact very strong.
Pink Glasswing Butterfly
Steve Johnson, writing for eHow.com reports, “One special species of glasswing butterfly out there has a special "blush" look to it. The pink glasswing butterfly -- which can be found in the Amazon region -- has clear wings at the top, which turn pinkish towards the bottom, making for a butterfly with matching blushing wings.
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