Morpho catenarius

20x15x6cm frame


Depending on where you view it from, Morpho catenarius glows with a creamy mother-of-pearl to a very soft violet, or appears almost translucent. The cause of this range of colours is the same as the reason why they will never fade: the colours come from the refractive properties of the scales rather than from any pigmentation of the scales themselves (they are colourless, as you can see when you angle it around).


Morphos have a very distinctive, slow, bouncy flight pattern due to the wing area being enormous relative to the body size. They are poisonous to predators due to toxins they sequestered from plants on which they fed as caterpillars. Adult males spend the mornings patrolling along the courses of forest streams and rivers. They are territorial and chase any rivals. Morphos typically live alone, excluding in the mating season.


The refractive properties of the scales on the wings has been studied as a model in the development of biomimetic fabrics, dye-free paints, and anticounterfeit technology used in currency.


Morphos secrete a dark oil from their abdomens, which leaches out over the years and stains the wings. To prevent this spoiling the amazing colouring, the abdomen has been removed.


This butterfly has been prepared in the UK to museum standards and is displayed in a deep handmade shadowbox frame, mounted on white conservation-grade foam. The back of the frame is covered in really special Italian decorative paper, with a brass hook for hanging it on the wall (but it also stands perfectly on a mantlepiece or a table). It is completely sealed inside the frame and will last for generations.

Morpho catenarius

SKU: 2015011