Top 10 most beautiful butterflies in the world
Butterflies are perhaps the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Among the 160 thousand species of these insects there are huge and tiny, bright and modest, transparent and fluffy, like flowers of various shapes and shades plucked by the wind. In Japan, it is believed that a butterfly that accidentally flew into the house is a harbinger of happiness, because it is a symbol of the joy of life. Modern dream books promise wealth, love and good luck to those who see a butterfly in a dream.
There are clinics in Sweden that treat stress with butterflies. In India, China and some African countries, these insects are not only an object of admiration, but also a delicacy.
Scientists believe that about 100,000 species of Lepidoptera remain unknown to science. Perhaps, somewhere on a distant tropical island, there are such beauties that the human eye has never seen. But the diversity of the studied species is breathtaking. The most beautiful butterflies in the world are collected in our ranking.
10. Peacock eye
The bright butterfly Peacock’s eye opens the top ten most beautiful insects. It is a small diurnal butterfly, its wingspan rarely reaches 6 cm. On a bright background, from red to brown, there are 4 bright spots resembling eyes. On the lower wings, the “eyes” are black-blue, on the upper ones – iridescent on a black background. The reverse side of the wings, gray-brown with veins, imitates a dry leaf. The color of an adult insect can change depending on the temperature in which the pupa developed. The body of this butterfly is covered with brown fluff.
The peacock’s eye can be found in the middle zone of Eurasia on flowers, tree sap and fermented fruits. Representatives of this species live up to 9 months. They hibernate in folds of tree bark and crevices of outbuildings. During thaws, they can wake up and fly out of the shelter. The second time it is difficult for an adult insect to fall asleep.
9. Greta Otto
In the ninth place in the ranking of the most beautiful butterflies in the world, the unusual Greta Oto is located. Like the Peacock’s Eye, she barely reaches 6 centimeters, and also prefers daylight hours. This is where the similarity of the ranking neighbors ends.
Greta Oto’s trump card is not lush beauty, but fragility and grace. She has a slender body and transparent wings without colored scales, for which she received her second name – Glass Butterfly. The wings have black veins and a brownish-red border, on the upper wings there is a small white stripe. With a successful fall of light rays, the transparent parts of the wings shimmer like a soap bubble.
The crystal beauty lives in the humid forests of the Amazon. Caterpillars feed only on the leaves of the poisonous cestrum shrub. The caterpillar accumulates toxin, which is enough for the entire life of this butterfly. An adult Greta Oto feeds on nectar of various colors, but there are enough reserves of poison so that insect eaters do not touch her. The glass butterfly plays an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating plants. When migrating, butterflies of this species gather in groups and travel up to 20 kilometers per day.
8. Morpho Peleida
The next line in the list of the most beautiful butterflies in the world is Morpho Peleida. Its name in translation from Greek means “beauty”. The wingspan of this diurnal butterfly is 10-12 cm. The bright blue-blue color of the wings is framed by a black border with white specks. The underside of the Morpho Peleid’s wings is gray-brown with a subtle light pattern in the form of stripes and circles resembling eyes.
The main habitat of these beauties is Central America and the Caribbean islands. There they are bred on special farms. Green teardrop pupae are exported to many countries around the globe. Zigzag flight and fast flapping of wings make these butterflies look like flashes of blue lights. Predators don’t risk hunting these blue flashes. But, even without being attacked by insectivores, Morpho Peleida does not live long, only 2-3 weeks.
The Admiral butterfly was named for its resemblance to admiral ribbons worn over the shoulder and stripes. On a black or brown background of velvety wings with a span of 5-6.5 cm, bright red-orange stripes stretch out. A wide fiery border with black specks frames the hind wings. The front fenders are split in half by orange lines. In addition, there are large white spots at the tip of the front wings, and if you look closely, you can find shimmering blue spots along the edges of the wings. The body and forelegs of the Admiral are covered with thick hairs.
This butterfly has a huge habitat: it can be found in Eurasia, North Africa, North America and on islands in different parts of the world. Some butterflies of this species fly for the winter from the middle zone to Africa. Those individuals that remained for the winter become even brighter after the spring awakening.
6. Madagascar comet
On the sixth line of the ranking of the most beautiful butterflies in the world, the Madagascar comet settled, it is also Saturnia of Madagascar, it is also the Moon Moth. As the name suggests, this butterfly is found only in the rainforests of the island of Madagascar and is nocturnal. This species of Lepidoptera belongs to the family of peacock eyes, one of the largest butterflies on the planet.
The Moon Moth may not be the largest, but certainly the longest: in a wingspan it reaches 14-18 cm, and the hind wings are equipped with “tails” 16-20 cm long! True, these tails do not last long: after several flights they fall off. And the total life span of Saturnia is short, within 3-5 days. For such a short life, there are enough nutrients stored in the caterpillar stage, so nature did not provide for the comet to feed: it has no mouth and digestive system.
Outwardly, this butterfly, thanks to its tails, really resembles a comet. Each yellow wing has a bright spot in the shape of an eye. In addition, the Madagascar comet is decorated with a brown border, spots on the tops of the wings and wavy stripes.
5. Glory to Bhutan
The fifth place is occupied by the spectacular daytime butterfly Glory of Bhutan. Unlike other daytime Lepidoptera, it prefers cloudy and rainy days. The wingspan of the Glory of Bhutan is 10-12 cm. The background of the wings is dark brown, light yellow wavy lines are visible on it. The front wings are rounded, and the hind wings are equipped with several tails and a bright multicolored spot, which warns predators that this insect is poisonous.
The glory of Bhutan knows how to hide bright hind wings under more modest front ones, in this state it is almost impossible to see it on a tree trunk. She lives in the high-mountain forests of Southeast Asia. Trade in this type of butterfly is prohibited, but collectors are eager to get such a butterfly, at least illegally. Several days after the capture, the Glory of Bhutan exudes a sweet scent.
4. Sailboat Maak
Sailboat Maak, or Blue Swallowtail, is the largest diurnal butterfly in Russia. This species is found in Sakhalin and the Amur region, as well as in Japan, Korea and China. The Swallowtail Blue is very popular with butterfly breeders and can live up to three weeks at home.
The males are especially beautiful: their wings with black veins shimmer with different shades of blue and green. Females are about a centimeter larger than males, reach 13.5 cm in span, but are more modest in color: most often they are brown, only the hind wings are provided with rainbow effect and spots. The shape of males and females is the same; a graceful tail is clearly distinguished on their curly hind wings. When disturbed, a caterpillar of Maak’s Sailboat pops out 2 long horns with droplets of fetid liquid.
3. Queen Alexandra’s birdwing
Opens the top three with Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, the largest of the planet’s daytime butterflies. The record female specimen has a span of 273 mm, but the color of the females is rather modest: a cream or light yellow pattern on a brown background. Collectors prefer males with narrow wings and an iridescent pattern of black and various shades of blue and green. Males are also rather big, about 20 cm in span.
In 1951, a volcanic eruption destroyed most of the habitat of Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing on New Guinea, and has since been threatened with extinction. It is very difficult to get such a butterfly also because it flies and feeds high in the crowns of trees. The first specimen studied by science was obtained by a shot from a gun.
2. Urania of Madagascar
Another beauty from the African island is Urania Madagascar. It is a diurnal butterfly of medium size, about 10 cm, in high mountainous regions – about 7 cm. On the black background of the wings, there are clusters of small scales that look like ribbons under a microscope. The scales form iridescent stripes of yellow, green, blue and reddish tones. A light fringe runs along the edge of the curly hind wings. Urania’s breast is covered with orange hairs.
The bright unusual coloration signals to predators that the insect is poisonous. This beauty feeds on nectar of tea flowers, berry eucalyptus and mango. During the Victorian era, the wings of Urania of Madagascar were used in jewelry.
Atlas is considered the most beautiful butterfly in the world. For the regal colors and nocturnal lifestyle, she received a second name – the Prince of Darkness. Atlas lives in the warm humid forests of Southeast Asia. In India, this species is bred to produce silk, which is different from the fibers of the silkworm. In Taiwan, empty cocoons of the Prince of Darkness are worn as a wallet.
In males, the hind wings are much smaller than the front ones, and in females they are almost identical, so the entire silhouette of the male resembles a triangle, and the female looks more like a square. Atlas is truly a giant butterfly: its wingspan reaches 24 cm, cocoons – 11 cm, and eggs are up to 3 cm in diameter, which is slightly smaller than quail! The wings of Atlas have an intricate pattern of different shades of red and brown.
Females prefer a sedentary lifestyle, while males fly masterly, strive to constantly move in gusts of wind. So it is easier for them to catch the female pheromones, which they feel at a distance of 3 km. Adult Atlas peacock eyes do not eat anything, for their ten-day life there is enough reserves accumulated in the caterpillar stage.
Some of the recognized beauties of the butterfly world can be seen in nature or at exhibitions. Endangered species are found only in the richest collections; meeting them in their natural habitat is a rare, almost impossible luck. Some species are taken under protection not so much because of the threat of extinction, but because of their extraordinary beauty.