Glasswing Butterfly

From Butterfly Wing Scale Digital Image Gallery.

As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rainforest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red.

Native to Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, the glasswing butterfly is usually observed feeding or flying high in the subcanopy of the tropical forest in the Andes Mountains.

Well adapted to the Andean climate and elevation, glasswing butterflies seem incessant in their zigzagging pursuit of flower nectar. Members of the species do not like to rush their meals and may spend hours on a single flower bloom while nectaring.

As human populations grow, butterfly populations tend to shrink. Thus, the future of the exotic glasswing butterfly is uncertain. As part of the growing international trade of butterflies, specimens are often taken from the wild, but may also be cultivated for sale on butterfly ranches. Intensive farming with agrochemicals and increased ranching in the Andes greatly threaten the glasswing species and its associates. Other activities that make room for man, such as extensive logging and coal mining, also devastate the crucial habitat of the glasswings.

Beautiful photos of Glasswing Butterfly!


blog comments powered by Disqus