Photographer captures fairy-tale sight of iridescent blue butterflies gathered on a tree

Have you ever seen a cluster of butterflies gathered around a tree trunk? I bet you haven’t. While that would have been a magnificent sight, we only see it happen in fairytales. But this photographer named Kelvin Hudson proved that it can certainly occur in real life. While he was in the forest, he came across that exact same sight.

A group of blue morpho butterflies was resting on a tree trunk, their iridescent wings providing an incredible view to the spectator. Luckily, Hudson had his trusty camera with him to take the rare and awe-inspiring picture.

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Considering these winged creatures’ behavior, Hudson was lucky that he was in the right place at the right time to snap the unusual sighting. Adult blue morpho butterflies typically spend most of their time on the forest floor and in lower shrubs and trees.

While here, they keep their wings folded to hide their brilliant coloring and show their brown underwings to keep them from being seen by predators such as insects and other birds. The photographer probably caught them when they were enjoying the warmth of the sun.

If you’re a fan of butterfly portraits, you’d be glad to know that this image is available as a signed archival-print. You may send Hudson an email for inquiries on how to get one. Aside from capturing extraordinary pictures like this, he’s currently working on a book about his photographic adventures that have taken him on a journey to many countries.

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There are more interesting facts to know about the blue morpho butterflies. We list some of them below.

Anatomy

Like other butterflies, blue morphos have two clubbed antennas, two fore wings and two hind wings, six legs, and three body segments, namely the head, thorax, and abdomen. As their name suggests, blue morphos’ wings are bright blue, edged with black. This coloring results from the microscopic scales on the back of their wings, which reflect light.

The underside of their wings are dull brown and have numerous eyespots, which provide camouflage against predators. When they fly, the bright blue and brown colors flash, making it look like they’re appearing and disappearing.

Kelvin Hudson Photography

Habitat

Blue morphos live in the tropical forests of Latin America. As mentioned above, they typically stay on the forest floor and in lower shrubs and trees. But when looking for mates, they will fly through all layers of the forest.

Humans mostly see them hanging out in clearings and along streams. These beautiful creatures don’t live very long; they have a lifespan of only 115 days, which means they spend most of their life eating and reproducing.

Photo by Tom Hilton | Rainforest Alliance

Diet

As a caterpillar, blue morphos like to chew leaves of different varieties, but their favorite kind to eat are those from the pea family. They can no longer chew once they transform into a butterfly; they drink their food instead.

Adults have a long, protruding mouthpart called a proboscis, which they use as a drinking straw to sip liquids from rotting fruits, decomposing animals, tree sap, fungi, and wet mud. These butterflies have a fascinating system of senses. Their legs have sensors that allow them to taste fruit and antennae, which they use to “taste-smell” the air.

Threats

Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are two of the greatest threats to the blue morphos’ existence. Humans also have a direct impact on the decrease in their number.

Because of their beautiful appearance, they’re targeted by collectors and artists who wish to capture and display them. Aside from humans, birds like the jacamar and flycatcher are their natural predators.

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Like many forest creatures, the blue morpho butterflies should only be admired from afar. Let’s learn to enjoy them for what they are and be content in seeing them from a distance. After all, they deserve all the peace and safety they could have, just like we do.

You may follow Kelvin Hudson on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on his website.

Learn more about the magical blue morpho butterfly below: