TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (Jointed Legged Animals)
Class: Insecta  (head, usually with two antennae. The thorax, has six legs and usually four wings. The abdomen, is used for breathing and reproduction.)
Order: Lepidoptera (most butterflies and moths)
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo eurilochus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color of the top (dorsal) wings is blue-gray.   Its ventral (bottom) wing surface is brown and tan with many lines and two large eye spots.

Wingspan up to 12.5 cm (5 inches). 

Wing bottom

Giant Owl Butterfly Caligo sp.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Mexico south to Amazonia in rainforests and secondary forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: Adults feed on rotting fruit, sipping liquids through their proboscis.

Wing Top

Giant Owl Butterfly IMG_0008

REPRODUCTION: The five larval instars each take a week to moult from one form to the other and the process therefore lasts about five weeks. The last instar moults to the chrysalis form which can be found hanging before the butterfly emerges at the end of five weeks

LIFESPAN: Up to seven weeks

PREDATORS: Fly at dusk to avoid avian predators.

Parasitized by tiny wasps known as Trichogrammatid which are parasitoids meaning that they kill their host

Giant Owl Butterfly 3175391673_2e6880dc85_b

REMARKS: Giant owls larvae are large and voracious, and one individual can consume an entire banana leaf more than 3 feet long!

The common name is derived from the large “eyespots” on the underside of wings, thought to be deterrents to bird predators.

Rainforest butterflies

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bocas_database/search/quick/open/?se…

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/137994/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449327886/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-12x