Paper Kite Butterfly
Paper Kite, Rice Paper, Wood Nymph Butterflies
The proper name of these butterflies is Idea Leuconoe but they are commonly called by several names: tree nymph, wood nymph, paper kites, and rice paper butterflies. No matter what name you call these graceful black and white butterflies they are a delight to observe and enjoy.
I volunteer at The Butterfly House in Chesterfield, Missouri where you will find hundreds of these butterflies fluttering around the conservatory. Their flight is slow and weak so that they seem to almost glide over the tops of the plants and flowers. They seem to be particularly attracted to the pink flowers as you see in this photo where I captured three of them resting on the flowers.
On this page I will share several facts about these beautiful creatures along with photographs that I have taken of them at The Butterfly House
photos by mbgphoto
Learn about Tropical Butterflies - butterfly book
This book is a good guide to the butterflies of the world.
Perching on Purple Flower
gathering nectar from flowers
The Idea leuconoe butterfly is of the same subfamily (Danainae) as the Monarch butterfly which is commonly seen in North America
The scientists classify butterflies into several categories. Here is the breakdown for the idea leuconoe.
Species: I. leuconoe
Paper Kite on Purple Flower
photographed at butterfly house
It is interesting how different butterflies protect themselves from predators. In the case of the idea leuconoe you would think that they would be a great target for birds and other predators because they flutter around so slowly and they are bright and easy to see. Their protection is that they are said to be poisonous or highly distasteful to their enemies. If a bird tastes one of these butterflies they are sure to leave the others alone.
Butterfly on Bright Colored Folliage
You can see by the photographs on this page that these butterflies seem to be attracted to colorful plants and flowers. I have also seen them land on people, especially ones with colorful clothing.