Morpho Menelaus: A Sky Blue Beauty

The Menelaus Blue Morpho is one of the largest blue butterflies on the planet. Its stunning blue wings and giant wingspan make it the white whale for butterfly enthusiasts.

To catch a glimpse of this strikingly beautiful blue butterfly in its natural habitat, you’ll have to travel deep into the Amazon rain forests of Central and South America.

Who was the first person to discover the Morpho Menelaus?

The discovery of the Blue Morpho cannot be attributed to one single person. Indigenous people of Central and South America lived alongside these blue butterflies for centuries.

However, when European explorers began documenting the rare species of the rainforest, the popularity of the Blue Morpho grew.

What is special about the blue morpho butterfly?


One of the most striking features of the Blue Morpho is its massive size. These butterflies have a wingspan that measures between 5 and 6 inches long! Its impressive wing span earns it the title of the largest blue butterfly on Earth.

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In their native habitats in the Amazon, Blue Morphos aren’t rare – they’re quite common! However, deforestation in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, and Guyana threatens their habitats.

Plus, this striking butterfly is a target for collectors and breeders. If avid conservation practices weren’t in place, the Blue Morpho would be in jeopardy of becoming endangered or extinct.


Spotting a Blue Morpho is a rare encounter; cultures in Central America and South America find symbolism in this elusive butterfly. Some believe Blue Morphos grants wishes, while others believe it’s the host of a loved one that’s passed on.

Color pattern

The color pattern of the blue Morpho also makes it unique. It has iridescent blue wings on its forewings and hindwings with brown and black underwings accents with white eyespots.

While their wings aren’t technically blue, the light that reflects off their scales makes them appear neon blue in the open clearings.


The wing beat pattern isn’t different from other butterflies, but the refraction of light makes it appear different. The term “Morpho” describes how the light plays off its wings to look like it is morphing.

The topside of the wings is iridescent blue coloration, while the undersides are shades of brown and black.

Morpho menelaus
Morpho menelaus

How long does the Morpho menelaus live?

Adult Morpho menelaus butterflies only live for 2-3 weeks as an adult. And that’s assuming it isn’t the victim of a hungry bird or human interaction.

Here’s a quick breakdown of their overall life cycle.

  • Egg. Females lay a single pale green egg on the underside of a leaf. Its unique coloration helps to camouflage it to look like a dew drop collecting on a leaf. It stays in the egg stage for 10-12 days.
  • Larvae (caterpillar). After the egg hatches, it emerges as a red-brown caterpillar to help it blend in with its surroundings. The caterpillar stage lasts about eight weeks, in which it sheds its exoskeleton about five times.
  • Pupa. When it’s ready, the Menelaus Blue Morpho enters its chrysalis where it remains for around 14 days. After two weeks, it emerges as an adult butterfly.

How do Morpho Menelaus reproduce?

Adult male Blue Morphos use their striking blue coloration to attract a female (females are blue, but the colors are more muted.) Males also use visual cues and special chemicals to attract a rotation female partner.

Mating often occurs high in the canopy of the rainforest. After mating, a female will lay a single egg on the leaf (such as the Erythroxylum) to provide the larve proper camouflage and plenty to eat when it hatches.

What are the predators of the Morpho menelaus?

Its striking blue coloring makes it an easy victim to hungry birds and creatures hiding in the rainforest. However, their erratic and quick skills in the sky make them a little difficult for natural predators to catch.

The biggest predator of the Blue Morpho is (sadly) humans. Avid collectors love to pin this specimen to collection boards, and breeders capture and sell these insects in the USA. Plus, deforestation quickly shrinks their neotropical habitats in the rainforest.

What is the difference between Morpho Didius and Menelaus?

The Morpho Menelaus and the Morpho Didius belong to the family Nymphalidae, noted for their brightly colored wings. The biggest difference between these two blue butterflies boils down to size.

The Morpho Didius, aka the Giant Blue Morpho, is the largest species of Morphos. It has a wingspan of almost 6 inches and is only found in certain sections of Peru. The Morpho Menelaus is smaller with a larger habitat that spans most of Central and South America.

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