Costa Rica’s Blue Morpho Butterfly
Considered one of the most beautiful and impressive butterflies in the world, the Blue Morpho is also the biggest butterfly in Costa Rica. Found throughout Costa and on both coasts, it is most often spotted along habitat edges of forests, fields, rivers, or near the ocean, and if you’re lucky enough around our retreat premises. It is a favorite sight for many of our guests as they hike along the many trails within Samasati’s rainforest sanctuary. They are easily spotted by their large and beautiful bright blue wings that reflect light as they rise and dip lazily along the forest edges.
Offering a mesmerizing show, the morpho can confuse predators with its erratic “flash and dazzle” strategy when it feels threatened. The males look for food earlier in the morning while females are more active late morning to afternoon. The peak hours of activity may be earlier or later depending on the species. As an adult butterfly, the morpho favors the juices of rotting fruit or fungal growths. For protection, the morpho feeds with its wings closed as the large dark ocelli on the wing’s underside blends in with the forest and resembles large eyes that appear to be an animal rather than an insect.
The Blue Morpho’s have a short life cycle of 115 days. They begin life when the eggs are hatched into larvae. The larvae then becomes a recognizable caterpillar with distinct brownish red with green patches along the back. It’s best to leave them alone as the morpho caterpillar has prickly hair that will irritate the skin and if disturbed they will secrete a rancid smelling fluid.
After metamorphosis, the adult Blue Morpho will emerge out of a brilliant jade colored green chrysalis. Like all butterflies, morphos taste with sensors on their legs and taste-smell the air with their antennae to help them detect food while in flight.
Butterflies have long been associated with a deep and powerful representation of the soul and spiritual transformation. The blue color is often thought to symbolize healing, whether it be personal healing or the healing of someone close to you. Many natives of the rainforest see the “blue butterfly” as a wish-granter. So, next time you explore the rainforest at Samasati, be sure to look for the magnificent Blue Morpho – if you spot one, make a wish! Of course, if you’ve already set an intention, the colorful creature could flutter by to let you know it has already granted your wish.
Check out Samasati’s Nature Trek Tour where you have the opportunity to encounter exotic animals like monkeys and sloths, observe some of the 400 bird species in the area, marvel at the hundreds of brightly colored or bizarre insects and butterflies (including the Blue Morpho) and learn about the intelligent life living in harmony.