Morpho epistrophus cf. argentinus - Epistrophus White Morpho / Borboleta-da-Coronilha (Fruhstorfer, 1907)
Lepidoptera: Bombycina: Papilionoidea: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Morphini: Morphina
Date: 26tn of October, 2017 at 01:53:58pm
Location: Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo
Caterpillar size: ~3,5cm.
Wingspan of the adult: Males ~10cm / Females ~13,5cm.
Their habitars are wet primary rainforests with unadulterated vegetation, can also be found in secondary rainforests if these have regrown well enough. Encounters with these caterpillars (and butterflies) in an anthropic environment are really rare. The adults usually fly next to rivers and streams to feed on mineralized substances in the soil. These were found in an untouched forest in the neighborhoods of Benedito Novo, in Santa Catarina in Brazil.
Morpho epistrophus argentinus are members of the order Lepidoptera, subdivision Rhopalocera, superfamily Papilionoidea, family Nymphalidae, subfamily Satyrinae, tribe Morphini and subtribe Morphina. The larvae feed primarily on the following plants: Scutia buxifolia, Inga uruguensis, Lonchocarpus nitidus and Acacia longifolia. Their feeding is not limited to those plants, though. The adults feed on the sap of trees, fermenting fruits (especially Artocarpus heterophyllus) and absorb the water from the soil. The adult is large and white with yellow marks spread throughout the wings. They prefer unadulterated places, being often found in rainforests near rivers or waterways. The larva of Morpho epistrophus argentinus is red and resembles a dragon. The larvae are usually found in clusters, possibly as a defensive mechanism against predators. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are harmless. There is doubt about the subspecies but, apparently, in the location found, argentinus is the most common subspecies so I'll go with that possibility.
3 subspecies can be found in Brazil, distributed as follows: Morpho epistrophus epistrophus in Rio de Janeiro, part of São Paulo and Espírito Santo and above; Morpho epistrophus catenaria in part of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and part of Paraná; Morpho epistrophus argentinus in part of Paraná, all of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
''Morpho epistrophus'', the white morpho or Epistrophus white morpho, is a Neotropical butterfly found in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.