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Owl Butterflies at Butterfly House
Owl butterflies have a wonderful way of hiding from their predators. The outside of the wings have owl spots which scare off their predators. There are approximately 20 species of owl butterflies.
The Butterfly House in Chesterfield, MO has three different species of owl butterflies; The Pale Owl, The Forest Giant Owl, and The Magnificent Owl. They get their owl butterflies from butterfly farms in Costa Rica and Suriname.
photographs taken at The butterfly House by Mary Beth Granger
In their natural habitats you can find owl butterflies ranging from Mexico to the Amazon basin. They are found in the understory of rainforests and also in secondary forest regions. Owl butterflies are crepuscular butterflies which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.
Owl Butterfly Life Cycle
four stages of life
Owl butterflies go through four life stages. Here are the four stages along with the approximate life span of each cycle.
1. Eggs- they are in the egg stage for 10 days to 2 weeks
2. Caterpillars- after the eggs hatch the caterpillars emerge and feed on the leaf. This stage lasts 2-3 weeks
3. Chrysalis- this stage (sometimes mistakenly called the cocoon) lasts for 10 days to 2 weeks. The chrysalis is brown and disguised to look like a dead banana leaf.
4. Adult Butterflies- the adult owl butterfly lives over 4 weeks long.
Forest Giant Owl Butterfly
This photo shows a Forest Giant Owl with it's wings spread open. The proper name is Caligo eurilochus. The butterfly was named for Eurylochus, the second-in-command to Odysseus during the return to Ithaca folowing the Trojan war.
Although on the outside this butterfly will look very similar to other owl butterflies when it's wings are open you will see that both the forewings and hindwings are iridescent blue with dark edges.
The Pale Owl - Caligo Memnon
This owl butterfly was named for Memnon, a Greek warrior and Ethiopian King. You will note that when the wings are open the forewings are a pale gold color with a dark band near the edge and the hindwings are a deep blue color.
The Magnificent Owl - Caligo atreus
The Magnificent Owl is name for Atreus, the mythological king of Mycene. Of the three species at The Butterfly House this one is the most impressive. The undersides of its wings are bright and striking, with a distinct gold edging to the hindwing. The upper sides of the fore-wings have bright bluish purple bands.
Magnificent Owl with Open Wings
I found this beautiful owl on a tree with it's wings extended so I could see the beautiful colors! What a contrast to the outside of the wings that you see in the photo above this one.
Two Owl Butterflies
Here you can see two owl butterflies side by side. One with it's wings closed and one with the wings open.
Owl Butterfly among the Orchids
I captured this owl butterfly perched on a group of orchids that were sitting on a bench waiting to be planted at The Butterfly House.
Owl Butterflies Feeding
The butterflies enjoy feasting on very ripe bananas. You will notice several owl butterflies at this feeder, however the one on the far left that has several spots is not an owl butterfly. It is actually a blue morpho and with it's wings closed is often mistaken for an owl butterfly because of the spots.
October Owls and Orchids
The Butterfly House in Chesterfield, MO is having a special event for the month of October called Owls and Orchids. During this time there will be an additional 1500 owl butterflies in the flight house, along with over 100 brightly covered orchids. In addition they will be staying open until 7 pm on Tuesday evenings so that more people can see these beautiful owl butterflies in flight.
For more information go to The Butterfly House website at butterflyhouse.org
Learn More about Butterflies
Thank you to Jessica Deering
Guest Services at The Butterfly House
I am a volunteer at The Butterfly House in Chesterfield, Missouri. The information for this lens was taken from a training session for the volunteers put on by Jessica Deering.