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Blue morpho

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Blue morpho
Blue morpho butterfly.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
  • M. Peleides
  • M. Menelaus
Image Description
Inner eyes of blue morpho.jpg

The Blue Morpho is the common name for two species of morpho butterflies (M. Peleides and M. Menelaus). Its best feature is its magnificent wings with their lustrous wings and unusual features it is a rare but majestic butterfly. It is a very delicate species. They are naturally large butterflies, and they are not harmful butterflies. Incessant chopping down of rain forests is causing the population of Blue morpho butterflies to get dimmer and dimmer. Now not only do they have to deal with their natural predators, they must put up with mankind cutting down there home.

Contents

Anatomy

The Blue morpho up close

The anatomy of a Blue Morpho Butterfly is like any other butterfly. It has two antennae and six legs. The antennae are used for tasting. The legs are made for walking, and smelling/ tasting. Like other butterflies, they have a proboscis. Blue Morpho Butterflies use the proboscis to drink juices of fruit and sap from trees.

They have iridescent wings, usually seven to eight inches long with scales like any butterfly. Their scales contain ridges that reflect blue light gives them their beautiful look. On the inside of their wings they are a dull brown pigments with spotted patters that resemble eyes used to scare off predators. When they are larvae or caterpillars, there not blue at all. The caterpillar has a reddish-brown hue, usually with bright green spots along their back[1]Morpho Butterflies shading is from extremely fine lamella scales that cover the Morpho's wings. They reflect light frequently at alternating layers. The blue color on the top surface of their wings is not a pigment but instead a model of iridescence. Their layers lead to clashing effects that rely upon wavelength and point of observation.[2]At first people thought butterflies were deaf. But in 1912 they discovered butterfly ears. Which were considerably comprehensive and common in a few different kinds.[3]

Reproduction

In reproduction, a male Blue morpho will give off pheromones through their wings. The males attempt to get as many females as possible. The females, usually smaller and wings are a little more dull then that of a males. Their eggs are fertilized, they lay them, and then leave. In approximately nine days the eggs hatch. Most caterpillars die within the first few days. They can't survive because no one is there to protect them, so their natural predators get them. They are even eaten by their cannibalistic siblings. If we persist to chop down the rain forest these beautiful creatures will no longer exist. The life expectancy of a Blue morpho is about 137 days.[4]

Ecology

Blue Morpho on yellow flower

One of over maybe eighty characterized species of the genus Morpho, the Blue morpho butterfly is exquisite. As a neotropic butterfly its almost entirely found in South America. Usually seen in the canopy region the Blue morpho can be rarely viewed near the forest floor. Besides South America you can also find them in Mexico and Central America. [5] In order to get some warmth the butterflies will sometimes endeavor into sunny clearings, but normally they are forest residents. Territorial males will chase away any other male invaders. For ceremonial masks natives of the Rio Negro would attract these bright butterflies to sunny clearings, by flashing blue decoys. The wings were used for decking out the masks.[6]

Tympanal Membrane

The Blue morpho's hearing membrane (tympanal membrane) was found in 1912. It is located at the base of the butterfly's wing and oval shaped and dome like in the center. Sound waves will come at it and hit the membrane, which will then be converted into nerve impulses until they are picked up by nerve cells. Researchers found that unlike normal butterfly hearing membranes the Blue morpho is more sensitive to lower pitches. Only one spot of the membrane will vibrate during a lower pitch. Unlike when a higher pitch is used, the whole membrane will vibrate. Now knowing that they have keen ears we can dare to say that they cane be used to tell if a bird is about to attack. The lower pitch sounds would send the membranes into high alert. The pitches may be caused by the birds wings flapping or so on. This would warn them to get away as fast as possible. So these keen tympanal membranes can save the Blue morpho.[7]

Gallery

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References

  • [8] St. Louis Zoo,11.21.09.
  • [9] Maggie, 11.21.09.
  • [10] Kashmira Lad, 11.28.09.
  • [11]Animal pictures archive, 11.28.09.
  • [12] Animal Corner, 11.29.09.
  • [13] msnbc.com, Jeanna Bryner, 12.2.09.
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