The Owl Butterfly — Facts and Interesting Information, HubPages

The Owl Butterfly — Facts and Interesting Information

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Cailigo Memnon, the Owl Butterfly

The Amazing Owl Butterfly

The owl butterfly is a beautiful, interesting, larger butterfly with an amazing built in protection system. It has what appears to be large eyes, that would be more fitting of a larger predator than a fragile, beautiful butterfly. As needed, these eyes trick other creatures that would normally make the Owl Butterfly a snack or meal! All another hungry animal needs to see, are «eyes» that would fit on a creature that would eat them if they had the chance, and they are immediately looking elsewhere for food! What an incredible built in defense mechanism.

My first real experience with these owl butterflies was when I was on a trip to visit family in the Midwest, and we all went to a butterfly conservatory. As you can see in the picture I was able to capture, the owl butterfly has a very fitting name. The colors on the outer wings, and the eyeball design are the perfect cover up. Isn’t nature just amazing? The more I find out the more fascinating it becomes to me.

Owl butterfly, the colors on the opposite side of wings

Owl Butterflies can be found in South America.

Facts about the Owl Butterfly (or Cream Owl Butterfly)

The Cailigo Memnon (or Caligo memnon), also known as the owl butterfly can be found living in Central and South America. There are some other names associated with this butterfly and they are the Tawny owl butterfly, and Memnon’s Owl. They are rather large, as butterflies go, about 6 and 3/8 inches across the wingspan. The larvae feed on banana leaves and many other large leafed plants. Without the right plants, they will not survive. The female will lay her eggs on the appropriate leaves so when larvae come out they are ready to eat.

Compared to many other butterflies, the Owl Butterfly can be found in drier areas. The Caligo Memnon isn’t to be confused with the Giant Owl butterfly that looks a bit similar and likes wetter rain forest settings.

These beauties are a member of the brush-footed butterflies, or Family Nymphalidae.

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Comments

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eesha

interseting information perfect and finally i have made my presentation

jhukubyuhj

Yaaaaaasss i luv dem booterflys yaaaassssss queen booterflys

zjuygtrf

I love them butterflies. i think you mispelled it though. It should be called butt fly.

Paula

8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Thank you Vinsanity, and I love the owl butterfly they are so cool. I recall seeing them first, and learning their name later. It fits once you see one. 🙂

vinsanity

Hey there, this is a very cool hub. I never knew that there was an owl butterfly.

Paula

9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Thank you Voxvocis!

Jasmine

I loved this hub and the photos you posted. Voted up, awesome!

Paula

9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

BkCreative, I love attracting them to the garden as well. They are such a joy, butterflies are. Thank you!

Paula

9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Thank you Phoenix!

BkCreative

9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

What a beauty. I love attracting butterflies to the garden and learning about them — I didn’t know there was a similar one. Great photo too — thanks a lot!

PhoenixV

9 years ago from USA

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Butterflies and moths mimic snakes and foxes to fool predators, claims researcher

Butterflies and moths mascarade as snakes, toads and even mammals such as foxes to avoid being eaten by predators, according to research by a leading entomologist.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent

9:00AM BST 24 Oct 2010

The dazzling colours and patterns on their wings make butterflies and moths some of the most eye catching creatures in the animal kingdom, but a new book suggests these dramatic designs also help turn the insects into master illusionists capable of fooling potential predators.

Professor Philip Howse, a retired entomologist from Southampton University, claims that many species of butterfly and moth are capable of using their wing patterns to trick predators into thinking they are much larger and even more dangerous animals.

One species of butterfly has patterns on its wings that when viewed from the right angle take on the appearance of a snake’s head. When disturbed, it falls to the ground and writhes around to complete the illusion.

Another species uses its wing patterns to take on the appearance of a small rodent peaking out from foliage, while another looks like the face of a fox.

Professor Howse claims that evolution has shaped butterflies and moths’ wing patterns in a way that allows them to exploit their predators’ eyesight and play with their sense of perspective.

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He said «We as humans are able to instantly recognise them as a butterfly because we see the whole insect.

«The eyesight of birds and other insectivores, however, is different and they tend to focus in on the details.

«This means they will see eye spots or distinctive colours and associate them with other species. It allows butterflies and moths to use imperfect mimicry to great effect.

«It doesn’t matter that the butterfly might be smaller than the animal it is mimicking, as in that first crucial glance for the predator it will simply appear to be further away.»

Professor Howse, who has spent more than 30 years studying insects, sets out this findings on how moths and butterflies use imperfect mimicry to scare off predators in a new book called Butterflies: Messages from Psyche.

He claims that in the past most research on butterflies and moths’ ability to mimic other species has focused on species that mimic other poisonous butterflies and those that take on the appearance of leaves, bark or other parts of a plant to camouflage themselves.

In one of the most famous examples, several species of harmless butterfly mimic the poisonous monarch butterfly as predators have learned to associate the distinctive red and black pattern of the monarch with poisonous food.

Professor Howse, however, insists that many of the patterns on butterfly and moth wings are more ambiguous and only take on the appearance of other types of animal when viewed from the right angle, or when the insect is startled and displays its wings.

In Britain, the Oak Eggar moth is a large, common, drab brown insect that is found in heathland, moorland and along the edges of woodland.

It is often overlooked because it is so widespread, but Professor Howse claims that these insects are among the country’s most adept mimics and can easily be mistaken for a rodent’s head with the white spots on its wings taking on the appearance of eyes.

Another British moth, called the eyed hawk moth, has distinctive blue and black spots on a red and orange background on its hind wings. If provoked, these woodland dwelling moths will flash their hind wings.

Professor Howse claims that when viewed from the right angle, that on the appearance of a common fox, an animal that most insect predators would want to avoid.

The forked tail of the swallowtail butterfly, which is increasing in numbers in Britain, is a mimic of the formidable jaws of the rhinoceros beetle and stag beetles, which have armour plates that cause most predators to avoid them, according to Professor Howse.

The Atlas moth, which is typically found in the subtropical forests in south east Asia and has wingspans of up to 12 inches, has brightly coloured bands up the edge of its wings which make it look like a snake’s head.

When it is threatened it typically falls to the ground and flaps around, giving the appearance of a writhing snake.

The giant owl butterfly, Caligo memnon, found in the rainforests of Mexico and the Amazon, has a large black and yellow spot on its wing so when it is resting with its wings vertical, it looks like the head of a toad.

The two-tailed pasha butterfly, normally found in the Mediterranean and Africa, employs an even more elaborate optical illusion that allows it to take on different appearances depending on the angle it is viewed from.

Professor Howse said: «From one angle it looks like a bird with a gaping beak, while from another it looks like a caterpillar with a spiny head. The last one it looks like a grasshopper resting on bark.

«Butterflies and moths are fascinating creatures that have been shaped by evolution into very effective mimics.»

www.telegraph.co.uk

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Owl Moth Photographs

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The striking world of moths of Thailand

Living in rural Thailand for a few years, I was fascinated by the diversity of moths and butterflies that I could see around my house. And as any wildlife biologist would, I decided to attempt to understand and to document it.

Some of the more visually striking moths of Thailand belong to the Hawkmoth family. Their name comes from the hawk-like shape of their wings that are designed to sustain rapid flight.

Giant Arum hawkmoth (Theretra nessus) Hawkmoth Impatiens hawkmoth (Theretra oldenlandiae) Oleander hawkmoth caterpillar

Even the caterpillars of hawkmoths are striking, like the Oleander hawkmoth caterpillar above. It feeds primarily on the leaves of oleander, which is obviously where the name of the moth comes from.

One of the giants of the moth world is the spectacular Thrith’s Emperor moth. Not as large as the Atlas moth, it is still quite impressive.

Thrith’s Emperor moth

Slightly smaller are the Owl eye moth (Great Owl moth) and the Eyed rustic moth, both with a similar camouflage pattern of large ‘eyes’ on their wings

Owl eye moth Eyed rustic moth (Spirama helicina)

Another interesting species is the Orange fruit piercer, which, as its name suggests, feeds on fruit by piercing its skin.

Orange fruit piercer

And then, of course, there is the White Winged Red Costa Tiger Moth, that tends to look almost fluffy.

Tiger moth – Aloa lactinea Tiger moth caterpillar

Identifying moths of Thailand

The diversity of moths of Thailand is truly astounding. No matter how many species you have already seen, there are dozens more to see in the same location. It is an entomologist’s paradise.

As a mammal specialist, I found it difficult to identify some of the less distinct species. The images below are a reflection of diversity rather than an identification reference, and some species are marked as Unidentified. Any tips on the ID of these species will be appreciated.

Hypomecis cineracea Cleora alienaria Psilogramma increta Meganoton nyctiphanes Ischyja hemiphaea Achaea janata Spaniocentra sp Trabala vishnous Orudiza protheclaria Trigonodes hyppasia

Huge thanks to John Moore for his help in identifying some of the species on this page. You can see his stunning gallery of Thailand’s moth’s here.

Think moths are cool? Check out the butterflies of Thailand!

2 thoughts on “The striking world of moths of Thailand”

Great photos of wonderul creatures; Thank You for sharing!
The unidentified species (next below Psilogramma increta) is a Meganoton nyctiphanes.

Nice wishes from Berlin,
Bostjan Dvorak

Thank you so much Bostjan! I appreciate the tip.

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