The Owl Butterfly, Caligo sp.
The Owl Butterfly is named for the giant spots resembling the eyes of an owl on its ventral hindwings. The dorsal wing surface is blackish to dusky purple with lighter tan areas on the upper forewings. The ventral wing surface is mottled tan, grey, and brown and somewhat resembles tree bark. These patterns help camouflage the adult, while the eye spots protect it from predators that manage to find it. These butterflies are large, with a wing span of up to 15 cm.
There are many species of Owl Butterflies, but they can be very difficult to tell apart.
Owl Butterflies are found in Central and South America. Adults are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, and can be seen flying in shady patches of forest. The caterpillars, which can reach lengths of up to 15 cm, feed mainly on banana (Musa spp.) and Heliconia foliage. Adults feed on rotting fruit, especially banana, pineapple, and mango.Click here to go back to Butterflies Main Page >