Many Morpho butterflies are colored in metallic, shimmering shades of blue-green, purple, orange or even white. Some of these colors, such as the blue, are not a result of pigmentation but are an example of iridescence. The scales on the Morpho's wings reflect light repeatedly at specific angles creating the effect. Thus the colors produced will vary with the viewing angle. To the right is a Peleides Blue Morpho (M. peleides). The iridescent color of the Morpho is only present on the top (dorsal side) of their wings, leaving the bottom (ventral side) brown and display eye spots.
Morphos live in Central and South America. They range in size of species from 3 inches up to an impressive 8 inches, the largest being the reddish brown Sunset Morpho (M. hecuba). In most species, only the male is colorful. Morpho butterflies feed on the juices of rotting fruit and the adult Morpho lives for about a month. The more common species are farmed for use in jewelry, woodworking inlay, and the larvae are shipped all over the globe to be part of butterfly houses. To the left an image of a Blue Morpho, painted by the artist Martin Johnson (c. 1864-65.) Morpho information and photos courtesy of Wikipedia.
Above: Ornella Brooch. Tri-color wing brooch with gemstone charm collection. Top: Diora Pin. Blue Morpho (M. menelaus) brooch with golden honey gems. Middle: Sorcellerie Necklace. Morpho (M. peleides) with gem grade Labradorite.