Blue Morpho butterfly- Morpho peleides
Blue Morpho butterfly- Morpho peleides
Blue Morpho butterfly- Morpho peleides

Blue Morpho butterfly- Morpho peleides

The blue morpho is one of the largest and most colourful butterflies in the world.

They can be found all over Central and South America, but especially in Costa Rica, Brazil and Venezuela. 

The blue morpho isn’t just one butterfly, either, there are actually 29 different species, and 147 different kinds. The largest, the sunset morpho, can measure up to 20 centimetres across. 

They’re not even all blue. Male morpho butterflies come in dozens of shimmering iridescent blues and greens, while the females are various shades of brown, yellow and black.

Morphos use their bright colours to find each other in the dense rainforest where they live. However, these same bright colours also attract predators, so the undersides of their wings are camouflaged in different shades of brown, red, black and grey to look like leaves and branches. 

Blue morphos such as Morpho peleides (pictured) have a special trick to help them avoid predators when flying. Their wings are bright blue on the top and dark underneath, which means the butterfly flashes from shining blue to dark brown while it’s flapping its wings. This makes it seem to appear and disappear as it flies between the trees, ensuring it’s much harder to track. 

Exercise - Have a go at drawing and colouring your own.

Tips - I've started you off but you don't have to use mine, you can do yours completely from scratch if you like.

Things to pay attention to.
- I would recommend drawing the head and body first then the wings, this will help you make sure that all the parts are in the right place before you start filling it in.
- As you can see from my photo, I started with the outline, then drew in the veins which give the wings their structure and then filled in the details. 
- Butterflies, like all insects have a three part body plan, head, thorax and abdomen and 2 sets of wings, upper and lower which branch off the thorax (the middle body part) they also have 3 pairs of legs but you can't really see these in this image as they're underneath the body.
- The Upper pair of wings overlap the lower pair.
- You'll need to make different marks for the different parts of the body, they have furry little bodies and then wings covered in tiny scales so think of lines for the body and lots of tiny little dots, all going in the same direction for the wings.
- When it comes to colouring it... remember they're not just one blue. They're a whole range of blues, greens, purples and blacks which is what gives them their iridescent colouring so have a practise mixing those colours on a separate sheet of paper before adding them to your own drawing.
- And lastly, with the colour... start light and then build it up. If you go too dark too early you won't be able to get the shiny effect you're looking for.

Get your image

To learn more about this species and hundreds of others, check out my books Hidden Planet and Sensational Butterflies, available from Ladybird books.
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