Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)

Genus/species: Caligo memnon

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: There is a bluish-gray hue to the uppermost portion of the hindwing with a cream-colored patch on forewing. The wing underside surface is brown and tan with many lines and two large eye spots.

C. memnon is a very large butterfly with a wingspan up to 12.5 cm (5 inches)

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.

REPRODUCTION: The larvae of C. memnon go through five instar stages before the pupa (chrysalis) is formed. Adults emerge after 20 days of the pupal stage.

PREDATORS: Fly at dusk to avoid avian predators. Also eaten by small lizards.

REMARKS: Giant owls not always applauded by human cohabitants. Larvae are large and voracious, and one individual can consume an entire banana leaf more than 3 feet long!

Common name derived from the large “eye-spots” on the underside of wings, thought to be deterrents to bird predators.


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