Costa Rica’s 5 most beautiful butterflies can be seen in the wild in virtually any natural environment or in butterfly gardens. In fact, Costa Rica is one of the world’s leading exporters of butterflies. 18% of the world’s species can be found in Costa Rica, as well as 90% of the species found in Central America. 

1. The Blue Morpho Butterfly, the queen of the 5 most beautiful butterflies of Costa Rica.

The most emblematic butterfly of Costa Rica and national symbol since April 2022 is the Morpho. It is a huge butterfly that measures 20 centimeters in wingspan. Its fluorescent blue color is unmistakable. This comes from the numerous microscopic scales on the back of its wings which, when in contact with light, reflect its unmistakable blue color. Only males have an iridescent blue appearance.

2. The Owl Butterfly

Owl butterflies are usually about 20 centimeters long and are nocturnal. They are easily recognizable by the giant spots on their wings that look like the eyes of an owl. Seeing one is a unique experience, and one of the most likely in Costa Rica. They are usually found in lowland forests and feed on fermented fruit juices.

Caligo martia

3. The Glasswing Butterfly

The 64 species of glasswing butterflies have, as their name suggests, transparent wings. In Costa Rica they are called “espejitos” (little mirrors). They lack the tiny scales that give other butterflies their colors, which gives them their unique hue. They are difficult to see precisely for this reason. This migratory species ranges from Mexico to Panama, and can be found on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica.

4. The Cracker Butterfly

The Cracker butterfly is a truly curious species. The males emit a clicking sound when they feel threatened or when they are about to court the female. Who knew butterflies could be so loud? In addition, their wings have an intricate design that helps them camouflage themselves among the trees.

Unlike most butterflies, which feed on nectar, the Cracker feeds on decaying fruit or droppings.

5. The Malachite butterfly

Malachite butterflies are quite common and unmistakable. Their wings are bright green like malachite. Their diet includes flower nectar, decaying fruit, dead animals and bat droppings.

Author: M. Barrantes for Sensorial Sunsets