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Paper Kite Butterfly

Updated on September 12, 2014

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.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Nymphalidae

Genus: Idea

Species: I. leuconoe

Paper Kite on Purple Flower


Bad Tasting

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.

Paper Kites

Photo taken at The Butterfly House near St. Louis Missouri
Photo taken at The Butterfly House near St. Louis Missouri | Source

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