Monday, October 2, 2017

Owl-Butterfly

Scientists have always assumed that the eyespots of owl-butterflies are there to scare away small, predacious birds. Only in 2015 was this hypothesis confirmed in a study by De Bona et al. The more closely the eyespot resembled the real thing, the more effective it was. Conspicuous spots that looked less like eyes did not work as well.

Caligo, the genus of owl-butterfies, is found from Mexico to South America. This individual is pobably Caligo brasiliensis, but the various species are difficult to tell apart. Owl-butterflies usually fly at dusk, when fewer small birds are around. We found several during our hike on 4 July through the Carara National Park forest.

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