If you visit the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens next month, be on the lookout for hundreds of the Blue Morpho butterflies. September is Blue Morpho Butterfly Month at the Gardens, in Pine Mountain, next month.
Along with the more than 2,000 tropical butterflies seen every day in the Butterfly Center, the Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) will be easy to spot. It's an iridescent blue butterfly native to the rainforests of South and Central America. While the outside of the wing is a vivid blue, the underside is brown with eyespots.
The wings are actually made of blue scales that reflect the light. As it flies, the two differently colored sides of each wing makes the butterfly appear to disappear and then come back.
"Morpho" means to change or modify. Predators are startled by the flash of the blue, then the brown, which allows for the butterflies' escape.
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This butterfly is a large one, with a wing span of 5-8 inches.
The Blue Morpho often fly together, often as many as five at a time, so they're usually easy to spot. Besides, the color makes it stand out.
Photograph experts at the Gardens suggest the best time for photographers are on sunny days before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. when they are most active.
The Gardens is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. through Sept. 5 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in September and tickets are $9-$18.
Call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).