Ecuador Amazon – Malachite Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon - Malachite Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon – Malachite Butterfly

The Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) is a neotropical brush-footed butterfly. The malachite has large wings that are black and brilliant green or yellow-green on the upper sides and light brown and olive green on the undersides. It is named for the mineral malachite, which is similar in color to the bright green on the butterfly’s wings.

Ecuador Amazon – Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon - Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

Ecuador Amazon – Achilles Blue Morpho Butterfly

The dazzling blue wings of Morpho butterflies are enormous relative to their body size, resulting in a very distinctive slow, bouncy flight pattern. The effect is that the brilliant blue upper side appears to flash like a beacon as it alternates in flight with the dark undersurface. This makes it difficult for a bird to follow the flight. If attacked when on the wing, the slow lazy flight pattern instantly changes into a wild swooping evasive maneuver, following which the butterfly dives into the forest where it instantly settles. A pursuing bird is still of course searching for a brilliant blue insect, but the Morpho snaps it’s wings shut, displaying the dark brown underside and foiling the bird’s search program. If the bird does manage to spot the settled butterfly it invariably aims its attack at the most prominent feature – in this case the ocelli, missing the body entirely and allowing the butterfly to escape.