Owl Butterflies

Owl Butterflies

Owl Butterflies

A genre of butterfly very striking and different from the others is Caligo, popularly known as butterfly owl. The cause of the vulgar name of this lepidopteran ditrisios of the Nymphalidae family, which includes about 20 species originating from the central and South American forests, are the similarity that their spots in rounded form of the back of their wings present with eyes of more animals great as owls.


These round, sometimes bicolour spots on the wings of certain insects or on the feathers of certain birds are known in the animal world as ocelli. In the case of owl butterflies, these ocelli are mostly dark brown, yellow or orange, to contrast with the rest of the body and be very visible to other animals that may pretend to attack its wearer.

In the natural world, as a rule the ocelli are a mechanism of natural defense. In the genus Caligo this is no exception, because its species spread their wings when they feel threatened to make visible the ocelli to possible attackers that before the size of those "eyes" can be confused and to feel fear since apparently it is going against an animal different from what I had in mind.

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The best known predators of owl butterflies are lizards, birds and some species of flies.

Characteristics of the genus

Butterflies members of the genus Caligo can be considered in general of big size. When caterpillars measure 15 centimeters on average and when adult their main body, wings apart, can reach 20 centimeters. The amplitude of alar in both sexes can vary in a range between 73 and 85 millimeters.

It can be quickly recognized, to differentiate it from other butterflies with ocelli, from its purple upper part and a broad strip of yellow which they always have on the edge of their rear wings.

During the day, they can be seen refugees in shady areas of the tropical forests they inhabit, perched on tree trunks that allow them to camouflage themselves perfectly and to avoid attacks from their usual predators.

h2> Reproduction

The reproduction of the owls is the same as the rest of the known butterflies. They must pass the cycle of metamorphosis complete (egg-larva-caterpillar-butterfly) to develop and its longevity can extend until the three months.

Habitat and feeding

As we explained, the butterflies owls inhabit the forests of Central and South America, preferably in tropical climates.

They also seek habitats with fruit crops such as bananas, the favorite of the genus caterpillars, or any other when another when they are adults, state in which their diet includes all kinds of fruit and leaves. However, food may have slight variations depending on the species in question, although it is estimated that the guanabana and the mango add their favorites to the banana.

This natural predilection of the Caligo species for the fruits, has conditioned that in some places they are considered as a pest for crops and crops. Confrontation or biological control is then done with parasitic flies.