Butterflies are perhaps the most beautiful insects found on the planet because of their starkly patterned wings and interesting camouflage strategies. They are also some of the most diverse insects in the world and are found in almost all types of habitats. There are over two hundred and fifty thousand species of butterflies known as of now and they come in all types of sizes and colours. Here is a list of the ten most amazing and beautiful butterflies in the world.
1. Dead Leaf Butterfly
This unique butterfly is so named because of the unique mechanism it uses to camouflage and hide from predators. It has brown coloured wings with irregular patterns that resemble a dead leaf. The underside of the wings is usually colourful, unlike the dull upper side. This insect is found in forests across Asia and is also known as the Indian Leaf Butterfly. These butterflies cannot fly fast for over long distances and prefer to stay in one place unless they feel threatened.
Their diet mostly consists of nectar from flowers and fruits. One of the most beautiful butterflies in the world. Talking about the appearance, it looks like a dead leaf with faded browns, blemish spots and jagged edges. The upper side of the beautiful butterfly display bright colours and it is generally used if they are looking for mates and if they want to hide from predators they just close their wings.
Image Source: Wikimedia
2. Emerald Swallowtail
The Swallowtail family of butterflies has over 550 different species and the Emerald Swallowtail is one of the largest and most colourful among them. It is found in the forests of South East Asia and is quite rare. It is named after the green bands on its wings that shimmer in the light. Because of the positioning of the scales that give the butterfly its colourful wings, the colours sometimes also appear blue and yellow. On the underside, the wings are black and orange with blue spots.
Talking about the appearance, the dorsal side of the wings is covered with a large set of green scales with the background colour vary from dark green to black and broad set of bright emerald green metallic bands in an almost V shape. The undersides of the wings are black with orange, white and blue spots along the edges of hind wings. The butterfly uses its long proboscis to drink nectar.
3. Glasswinged Butterfly
This butterfly is found in Central and North America and is known for long-distance migrations. Usually, it resides in Mexico and Colombia but migrates to Florida in search of food. It is named the glasswing because it has largely transparent wings with brown to black borders. This makes it more difficult for predators to spot this butterfly, especially over long distances. In Mexico, it is also known as Great Oto.
It feeds on a common species of flowering plant called Lantana. It is also listed as one of the transparent animals on planet Earth. Talking about the appearance, the inside and outside colour of the wings differ drastically. The outside colour wings are less attractive as compared to inside one. The outside wings are of dusty greys with some blue and orange dots towards the bottom of the wing, however, the inside one is like a spotlight. The unique colouration makes it one of the most beautiful butterflies in the world.
4. Apollo Butterfly
This extremely rare species of butterfly is found only in some parts of Italy, France and Spain and is currently critically endangered. It has very beautiful shimmering wings that are silver in colour. The forewings have black spots on them while the hind wings have larger red and black spots of a typical pattern called ‘eye-spots’. The larvae of this butterfly have excellent camouflage to hide from predators while adults use the large spots on their wings and a foul-smelling substance to scare away predators. Also, read about weirdest moth species.
Talking about the appearance, it is decorated with large black spots on the forewings and red eye-spots on the hindwings, however, these red eye-spots can vary in size and form depending upon the location of the butterfly. The bright colour also fades in the Sun that causes the red spot of the older butterflies looks orange, however, wings are shiny with slight transparent edges making it one of the most beautiful butterflies in the world.
5. Sylphina Angel
This beautiful butterfly is found in some countries of South America like Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Like the glasswing butterfly, this butterfly to has mostly transparent wings with black borders. The tail of the wing has red and white stripes. The sylphina angel lives only in forests that are located at high elevations and prefer not to fly unless there is bright sunlight. They usually fly in search of food alone but sometimes congregate in groups of hundreds of individuals. They also migrate to areas more than 3oo kilometres away in search of food during the spring.
The beautiful butterfly can lay upto 150 pink eggs on two types of plants namely, the prionostemma asperum and maytenus plant. The caterpillars spread out across the plant until each has their own leaf and later when they are ready to become adult, they create the chrysalison their leaf. The adult butterflies drink nectar from butterflies. The lifespan of the butterfly is less than 9 months, however, rare of them live more than 9 months.
Image Source: Wikimedia
6. Forest Giant Owl Butterfly
It is one of the beautiful butterflies that belongs to the Owl Butterfly family and is native to South and Central America. It is a very large insect and may have a wingspan of up to 16 centimetres. Like other Owl Butterflies, this one too has large eyespots on its wings that look like the eyes of an owl. This tactic is used to scare away predators since the eye-spots look in the eyes of large predators from far. The wings have shades of yellow and brown with striped patterns. These butterflies can fly large distances and have a lifespan of 125 to 150 days.
7. Eighty-Eight Butterfly
This beautiful too is found in Central and South America and is named after the two eight shaped patterns found on its wings. The scientific name of this butterfly is Diaethria clymena and it has distinctive black and white ring like stripes on the wings. The underside of its wings is red and black in colour. The colouration and brightness of the pattern on its wings determine the exact location of the butterfly’s habitat.
They stay close to human habitation and may be found in large groups sometimes. It is a relatively small insect with a wingspan of about 4 centimetres and feeds mainly on rotten fruits. Talking about the appearance, the upper part of the wings are brown or black with metallic blue band and underpart of the upper two wings are bright red with wide black and thin white band and the underpart of the lower wings are white with black marking. The marking on the wings create an 88 number and hence the name.
Image Source: Wikimedia
8. Peacock Pansy
The Peacock Pansy butterfly is found in most parts of South Asia and is known for its beautiful wings. The upper side of the wings is yellowish brown in colour with multiple patterns on them. The most striking is the eye-spots that look like the spots on peacock feathers because of the bluish-green colour. The underside of the peacock pansy’s wings changes colours depending on the season and is more brightly coloured in the wet season rather than the summers. This butterfly is found commonly in gardens and parks and has a wingspan of up to 6 centimetres.
One of the most beautiful butterflies in the world can be easily recognized by beautiful purple eyespots on the hind wings and when you will examine up-side down the pattern on the wings resembles to face of an owl. The specific colouration not only makes them one of the beautiful butterflies but also helps them to protect against predators by confusing or even scaring them away. Both males and females have the same patterns, however, they will differ in their sizes.
Image Source: Wikimedia
9. Zebra Longwing Butterfly
It is one of the beautiful butterflies in the world which is named after its long slender wings that have zebra-like patterns on its wings. The pattern on the forewings and hind wings is same and the underside has similar patterns but with lighter colouration. It is found in Central and South America as well as the Southern parts of North America. This was named as the state butterfly of Florida in the United States. This is one of the very few butterfly species that like to feed on pollen along with leaves and other types of nectar. It has a wingspan of up to 10 centimetres and lives for an average of 6 months.
Image Source: Wikimedia
10. Blue Morpho
Like most beautiful butterflies on this list, this butterfly too is found in Central and South America and is one of the largest butterflies in the world. It has a wingspan of about 5 to 6 inches and is named after the distinctive bright blue spots on its wings. The males are more brightly coloured than the females. The spots on the wings help keep away predator since they look like the eyes of large predators. The underside of the wings is dull in colour to help the butterfly camouflage.
The Blue Morpho spends most of its time on shrubs of tropical rainforests and is commonly visible during the mating season. One of the largest butterflies in the world with a wingspan of up to 20cm wide and taste with their feet, smell with their ears (antennae), and hear with their wings. They have an eye under their wings to protect themselves from the predators. These eyes can fool predators that it can be a much larger animal rather than a butterfly.
Which of these butterflies have you seen? The next time you go to a nearby park or garden, be sure to look out for more amazing butterflies. What makes them interesting is also the life cycle they follow and the transformation of the pupa into a beautiful butterfly. This process has served as an inspiration for artists and writers all over the world. These are the 10 most beautiful butterflies in the world. Do post your comments.