Many of the Museum’s large collection of moths, bugs, and beetles were collected locally by its first curator Melville Smith. These Morpho butterflies, however, are from South and Central America. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring comes from microscopic scales on the backs of their wings, which reflect light. The underside of their wings, on the other hand, is a dull brown color with many eyespots, providing camouflage against predators when their wings are closed. Morphos are among the largest species of butterfly, with a wingspan up to 6 inches. They subsist on a diet of juice from rotting fruit and their lifespan is just 115 days.
Location: W2, Natural History Gallery 2