Owl Butterfly at the Butterfly Reserve in Playa Tortuga!

Butterfly Buho - Costa Rica - Photo by Matthew Kritzer

Butterfly Buho – Costa Rica – Photo by Matthew Kritzer

Most people here in Costa Ballena are familiar with the beautiful owl butterfly. In Costa Rica they are the largest butterflies, and are represented by five species of the genus Caligo. The common name originates from the pattern of colors that are on the underside of its wings, which resemble the eyes of an owl, with a background camouflage in shades of brown. This type of camouflage is supposed to scare and distract its predators such as lizards and small birds, which in turn are preyed upon by owls and other raptors.

Furthermore, this striking pattern is located away from the head, so that after a failed attack it is more likely that the predator is left with a piece of wing, but the head and body of the butterfly are left intact. However, there is still more to investigate about how this camouflage is used by the butterfly, and the response of its predators to these designs.

At the newly opened Playa Tortuga Butterfly Reserve, we raise and study owl butterflies and other species, with the purpose of promoting environmental education.

INFO: Reserva Playa Tortuga – www.reservaplayatortuga.org  – Tel: +(506) 2786-5200

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