Costa Rica Butterflies, Moths, and the Blue Morpho Butterfly

The wings of Paradise

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Explore the amazing variety of Colours!

Next, only to birds, Butterflies are the most colorful flying creatures of Costa Rica. With 1500 different species of Butterfly and 12 000 different species of moths, the numbers are staggering. Costa Rica has 90% of all Central American species and 18 percent of the total earth’s population. No wonder Costa Rica is so biologically diverse. No matter where you are in the country you will see these colorful designs flying around. From in the Central Valley of San Jose to the top of each mountain and Volcano. Blue Green, Pink, Yellow, and every color in between. One of our favorites is the Blue Morpho Butterfly.

Differences of Moths and Butterflies

The Differences of moths and butterflies are subtle but obvious at the same time. If you look closely you will notice that butterflies tend to be more colorful and have a larger variety of patterns. Whereas months tend to be a little duller with more yellows and brown tone used in their color schemes. Another difference is noted in the way they land. Butterflies wings always land closed and moths land with opened. The most notable difference is Butterflies come out during the day and moths at night though you do see the odd moth staying up past its bedtime. 

A curious fact about moths: The sloth’s fur works as a self-contained ecological community, giving residence to algae and moths, this not only helps them blend with their environment but, have you ever think, what do sloths eat?

The Blue Morpho Butterfly!

The Blue Morpho Butterfly is the most notable butterfly of all Costa Rica. You won’t find a brighter blue than this. This butterfly is rather special because of its unique color and here is the reason why. The Morpho butter fly isn’t Blue. It isn’t because of a color pigmentation that these beautiful butterflies are this color. It is actually because of the deep reflective scales on their wings. These scales are very similar to diamonds, they are strategically placed so that when light reflects through them a brilliant blue color pops out. This is called iridescence. 

Also, when you are viewing the Blue Morpho Butterfly you will notice another brown butterfly flying along side them. This is the female version of the Morpho. The Blue Morpho is colorful for mating reasons, to attract appropriate mates they flash their colorful wings. The Morphos are very territorial as well protecting what they view as their own. Another cool fact about the Blue Morpho Butterfly is they enjoy the sunlight. Their eyes are highly sensitive to UV light making their eye site better during the times of sunlight.

If you want to see these natural wonders, it is best to dive into the rainforest near the sunny spots. You might just see a group of them flapping about, too anf fro through the sunny back drop of the rainforest. 

Butterfly Species

Blue Morpho

1, The Blue Morpho

The Blue Morpho Butterfly isn’t the biggest but certainly one of the biggest. It ranges from 90mm to 150mm wingspan.

Owl Butterfly

2, Owl Butterfly

The Owl butterfly is the biggest butterfly of all Costa Rica, reaching sizes of 65–200 mm. They are also one of the hardest one to find because of their unique wing pattern. 

Giant Swallowtail

3, Giant Swallowtail

The Giant Swallowtail can grow to sizes of 100-140mm. It has a uniquely shaped wing set with tear drop shapes on its tips.

Glasswing Butterfly

4, The Glasswing

The glass-wing butterfly has a relatively smaller wing span than the rest. Only 20-40mm in span but you don’t normally acknowledge size because of their other attributes the glass wings.

Monarch Butterfly

5, Monarch

The Monarch butterfly is truly a monarch of North America. You find these butterflies all the way from Canada down into Central America. Their wing spans from 80-120mm.

Pink Spotted Cattle Heart

6, Pink Spotted Cattle Heart

The Pink Spotted Cattle Heart has an interesting design noting its pink spots. They reach sizes of 90-100mm.

Sara Longwing

7, Sara Longwing

The Sara Longwing has different colors but what is most noticeable about it is the long wings span yet shorter body length.

Scarce Bamboo Page

8, Scarce Bamboo Page

The Scarce Bamboo Page, an absolutely stunning addition to Costa Rica’s butterflies with a brilliant green, outlined in dark boarders on its wings.

Tiger Clear Wing

9, Tiger Clear Wing

The Tiger Clear Wing is famous for its tiger stripe design on each wing. Wing spans of 65-75mm.

White Angled Sulphur

10, White Angled Sulphur

The White Angled Sulphur butterfly has a beautiful color pattern perfect for hiding. Look how the wings look like leaves. Wing spans of 70-90mm.

Where to find these Costa Rica Butterflies?

These happen to be only a few of the butterfly species found in Costa Rica. You might ask where you can see these winged creatures of paradise. Besides taking a walk through the rainforest there are a number of butterfly farms and reserves country wide. One of the best ones is the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Butterfly Observatory.  here you will find over 4000 different specimens of butterflies at one time. Walk through the gardens and see the butterflies up close. This is the place if you want to get some awesome pictures. 

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Map

Where to visit

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a really unique place to go and visit not only to see butterflies but also the waterfalls you will enjoy hiking through each trail and seeing nature at its best. 

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