Epistrophus white morpho

Morpho epistrophus

''Morpho epistrophus'', the white morpho or Epistrophus white morpho, is a Neotropical butterfly found in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.
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.




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In 1913, Hans Fruhstorfer wrote in ''Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde'':
Group ''Morpho'' F. . Species with metallic gloss on the upper surface; upper discocellular short, middle strongly convex proximally, lower concave distally, in the obtuse angle directed towards the anterior median. Cell of the forewing considerably widened towards the apex. Uncus and its lateral clasps relatively slender, valve distally spined.

''Morpho laertes'' is the best known of a small group of species that differ from all their allies by its chalky, milky, or silvery white ground-colour. ''M. laertes'' may be easily distinguished by the connected chain of narrow, oblong, ocellated median spots on the underside of the hindwing, which have mostly only indistinct white pupils and washed-out yellowish bordering. The bluish white colouring is brought out very well in the figure. The upper surface resembles the figured underside, except that the forewing continues narrowly margined with black to about the middle of the median area. Hindwing with some elongate black anteterminal and more distinct submarginal patches. ''M. laertes'' only inhabits the provinces of Rio de Janeiro and Espiritu Santo and is very common both at Rio and Petropolis from January to March. Larvae nest on various forest-trees. It was first described by Burmeister. Arrangement of the bristles according to Dr. Wilhelm Müller are like ''Morpho hercules''.


Subspecies in alphabetical order:
⤷ ''Morpho epistrophus argentinus'' H. Fruhstorfer, 1907
⤷ ''Morpho epistrophus catenaria'' Perry, 1811
⤷ ''Morpho epistrophus epistrophus'' = ''Morpho laertes'' Drury 1782
⤷ ''Morpho epistrophus titei'' E. Le Moult & P. Réal, 1962Epistrophus is a character in the ''Iliad''.


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SpeciesM. epistrophus
Photographed in