<< Previous Next >>

Owl Butterfly

Owl Butterfly
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-01-02
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon Powershot SX110IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Guatemala & Belize
Theme(s): Butterflies & Moths [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-03-13 8:03
Viewed: 6566
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Owl Butterfly
Caligo Memnon

Butterflies in the genus Caligo are commonly called Owl butterflies, after their huge eyespots, which resemble owls' eyes. There are about 20 species in the genus, found in the rainforests and secondary forests of Mexico, Central and South America.

Functions of the wing pattern:

The underwing pattern is highly cryptic. It is conceivable that the eye pattern is a generalized form of mimicry. It is known that many small animals hesitate to go near patterns resembling eyes with a light-colored iris and a large pupil, which matches the appearance of the eyes of many predators that hunt by sight. Caligo's main predators are apparently small lizards such as Anolis.

According to the Batesian mimicry theory the pattern on the wings of Caligo resemble the head of a predator like a lizard or an amphibian.
It should deter predators while resting, feeding, mating or emerging from the pupa.

The role of eyespots as antipredator mechanisms has been discussed since the 19th Century. Several hypotheses are suggested to explain their occurrence. In some butterflies, particularly Satyrinae (such as the Gatekeeper Butterfly and the Grayling), it has been shown that ocelli serve as a decoy, diverting bird attack away from the vulnerable body, and towards the outer part of the hindwings or the forewing tip.
Research of Stevens et al. (2008), however, suggests that eye-spots are not a form of mimicry and do not deter predators because they look like eyes. Rather the conspicuous contrast in the patterns on the wings deter predators. In this study, however, the influence of surrounding forms, like the head region of a predator, was not tested. Also the question why animals evolved such complex imitations of other species is left.

Owl butterflies are very large, 65-200 mm, and fly only a few metres at a time, so avian predators have little difficulty in following them to their settling place. However, the butterflies preferentially fly in dusk, when few avian predators are around. The Latin name may possibly refer to their active periods. Caligo means darkness.

Some owl butterflies form leks in mating behavior.


This shot was taken at a butterfly farm.

Silvio2006, scubli, Mamagolo2, jrobertop, anemone, jeanpaul, Luis52, maurydv has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Manyeee, splendid butyterfly with fantastic design on wings, beautiful macro with fine details and excellent sharpness, I like a lot, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-03-13 8:29]

Hello Manyee,
Although the head is bit OOF, this is a very beautiful photo of this Owl Butterfly. Excellent sharp details in beautiful light. The patterns in the wings are gorgeous.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-03-13 9:00]

What a wonderful caoture today!
Light,details, colors,sharpness,BG,POV,all is perfect!
Congratulation for this beauty!

Hi Manyee,

A great macro. Splendid colors and lighting with sharp details.
Nice BG and good framing. TFS.

Best regards,

Hello Manyee,
This is such a beautiful stunning clear image. Love the color and thank you for the valuable notes. Very well done and tfs.

Hello Manyee.
Great capture! I like very much of butterflies of the genus Caligo.
Natural colors, excellent luminosity and details.
Well done!
José Roberto

Hi Manyee, impressive macro shot of this beautiful butterfly. The pov, dof and composition are phenomenal.
TFS. Kind regrads,

Bonjour Manyee
Bravo pour la netteté et les détails de ce joli papillon. Superbe exposition .Tres jolie la composition et beau macro
Au revoir et merci...JP

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-03-13 14:15]

Hola Manyee.
Exelente y fino Macro. Bellos detalles en las alas de la mariposa. La nota escrita interesante tambien.

Hello Manyee,
a fantastic cmacro shot of this marvellous butterfly taken from an excellent POV showing perfectly the underside wings with superb sharpness and very beautiful natural colours, a very pleasant close composition.
Have a good Sunday

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-03-14 7:19]

That's wonderful design of nature, well captured. tfs.

Calibration Check