Blue Morpho Butterfly, c.1864-1865
Oil on canvas, 12.25 x 10 inches [31.115 x 25.4 cm]
Heade depicts a buterfly , known as The Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho menelaus). It is a species of neotropical butterfly that has iridescent blue wings (the females are are not as brilliantly colored as the males and have a brown edge with white spots surrounding the iridescent blue area). The undersides (visible when the butterfly is resting) are brown with bronze-colored eyespots. Adults drink the juices of rotting fruit. The caterpillar of the Blue Morpho is red-brown with bright patches of lime-green on the back, and it eats the plant Erythroxylum pilchrum nocturnally (at night). Blue Morphos Blue Morpho Butterfly lives in rainforests from Brazil to Venezuela. Blue Morphos belong to the Family Nymphalidae, Genus Morpho, and species menelaus.