Butterfly Article

Caligo memnon


Scientific Name: Caligo memnon
Common Name: Owl Butterfly
Native Location: Costa Rica and Surinam
Description: The butterfly pictured here is the Caligo memnon. The Butterfly House receives two additional species of owl butterflies, Caligo eurilochus and Caligo atreus. All three are found in Costa Rica. We also receive Caligo memnon from Surinam as well. While most butterflies are diurnal, meaning they fly during the day, there are a few which fly at twilight. These butterflies are called crepuscular. Here at the Butterfly House we have one group of butterflies which exhibits this interesting behavior, the owls. These are our largest butterflies, but many people never see them take to the wing. They only begin to fly in large numbers as the sun descends below the horizon. The concentration of owls here at the Butterfly House creates an exceedingly spectacular display as dozens tumble along. They are fast and powerful fliers, often coming and going in a blur of brown. During the day our visitors can certainly see the owl butterflies, they are resting on tree trunks exhibiting that classic eyespot on the undersurface. They are also common denizens on our fruit trays, as they will not visit flowers for nectar. They live in the understory of tropical forests, and fruit is a main source of food there for them, along with tree sap, dung, and carrion.

<i>Caligo memnon</i>  <i>Caligo memnon</i>