20 Butterfly Species with Eyes on Wings
You might be surprised to learn that many butterfly species have unique eye-like patterns on their wings. These captivating designs not only add to their beauty, but also serve as a defense mechanism against predators.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 20 fascinating butterfly species known for their striking eyes on wings.
Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
The Peacock Butterfly is a vibrant species that easily catches your eye with its striking appearance. This beautiful insect offers much more than just looks!
Let’s dive deeper into the world of the Peacock Butterfly by exploring some interesting facts about it.
- Habitat: These butterflies are commonly found in various parts of Europe and Asia, especially in gardens, woodland areas, and open fields.
- Appearance: They have large, iridescent “eyes” on their wings, resembling the eyes on a peacock’s tail feathers. The overall color is reddish-brown, with black, blue, yellow, and white markings.
- Size: Adult Peacock Butterflies typically have a wingspan between 50-55 mm (2-2.2 inches).
- Diet: They feed primarily on nectar from flowers, but they have also been known to enjoy tree sap and rotting fruit.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs between April and June, after which female butterflies lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves.
- Lifespan: Adults can live up to a year, an unusually long life expectancy for a butterfly.
- Host Plants: Peacock Butterfly caterpillars mainly feed on stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) and small nettle (Urtica urens).
Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia)
The Buckeye Butterfly is a captivating species that you might encounter in various regions across the United States.
These fascinating creatures showcase unique eyespots on their wings that resemble the eyes of a large mammal, making them appear more intimidating to potential predators.
Observe the following aspects of the Buckeye Butterfly:
- Habitat: Inhabits a diverse range of environments, such as open fields, gardens, along roadsides and streams, and among moist woodlands.
- Appearance: Brownish in color with distinct eyespots on the upper side of the wings; these eyespots showcase a beautiful blend of vibrant colors, including white, black, and orange.
- Size: Adult Buckeye Butterflies boast an average wingspan of around 2-2.5 inches.
- Diet: The primary food for these butterflies is nectar found in various flowers, such as aster, lantana, and coreopsis.
- Reproduction: Female Buckeye Butterflies lay single, pale green eggs on suitable host plants; the eggs then develop into caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of an adult Buckeye Butterfly ranges from 1-2 weeks.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on a variety of host plants, including snapdragons, toadflax, and plantain.
The Buckeye Butterfly is not only an alluring sight to behold, but its unique eyespots also make it a significant study subject within the world of entomology.
Common Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)
The Common Blue Morpho, scientifically known as Morpho peleides, is a stunning butterfly species that boasts a breathtaking blue color on its wings, giving it a truly unique and eye-catching appearance.
You might even say that with its eyes on the wings, it has a charm that’s hard to resist.
Here are some fascinating details about the Common Blue Morpho:
- Habitat: These butterflies are typically found in tropical forests and rainforests in Central and South America.
- Appearance: Their wings have an iridescent blue color on the upper side, while the underside is brown with eyespots, helping with camouflage.
- Size: They have a wingspan that ranges from 5 to 8 inches, making them one of the larger butterfly species.
- Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on rotting fruits, nectar, and decomposing animals, while their caterpillars feed on various host plants.
- Reproduction: Common Blue Morpho females lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, and the larvae that emerge feed on the leaves of their host plants.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of these elegant creatures is rather short, ranging from about 115 days for caterpillars to just a few weeks for adult butterflies.
- Host Plants: Some host plants for the caterpillars include Mucuna, Machaerium, and Lonchocarpus, which are all tropical legumes.
Owl Butterfly (Caligo eurilochus)
The Owl Butterfly, scientifically known as Caligo eurilochus, is well known for its gigantic eyespots that resemble owl eyes.
This unique feature not only makes them fascinating, but also serves as an effective defense mechanism against their predators.
Let’s learn some interesting facts about the Owl Butterfly:
- Habitat: Primarily found in Central and South American rainforests, particularly in Mexico, Bolivia, and Panama.
- Appearance: Features large, distinctive eyespots on their wings, resembling an owl’s gaze, with brownish or black wings and a bluish or purple tinge.
- Size: They boast an impressive wingspan, reaching up to 10 to 20 cm or 4 to 8 inches.
- Diet: Owl Butterflies feed on fermented fruits and nectar from flowers, relying on their proboscis to consume their meals.
- Reproduction: Males exhibit territorial behavior, searching for females to mate with during the evening hours.
- Lifespan: Adults typically live for about three months, provided they can escape the attention of predators.
- Host Plants: Owl Butterfly caterpillars feed on host plants like Heliconias, Musa, and Calathea, making them an essential part of the ecosystem.
Now that you know more about the Owl Butterfly, be sure to keep an eye out for these stunning creatures the next time you visit a butterfly conservatory or tropical rainforest.
Wood Nymph Butterfly (Ideopsis juventa)
The Wood Nymph Butterfly, also known as Ideopsis juventa, is a fascinating species of butterfly mostly found in Southeast Asia.
With eyespots on its wings, these creatures showcase remarkable patterns that make them stand out from the rest.
- Habitat: Wood Nymph Butterflies are mostly found in open forests, wooded areas, and near rivers or streams.
- Appearance: Its wings exhibit a brownish color with a unique pattern of three blue eyespots on the forewing and three smaller eyespots on the hindwing.
- Size: The Wood Nymph Butterfly has a wingspan ranging between 65-90 mm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult Wood Nymphs usually feed on nectar from various flowers, providing them with the required energy.
- Reproduction: Like most butterflies, the female Wood Nymph lays its eggs on a specific host plant, ensuring that the emerging caterpillars can feed on proper foliage.
- Lifespan: The adult Wood Nymph Butterfly has a relatively short lifespan of about 2-3 weeks.
- Host Plants: The most suitable host plants for Wood Nymph caterpillars are usually the leaves of the Calotropis gigantea or the Calotropis procera plant, as these caterpillars can consume these leaves without any harmful effects.
Now that you’ve learned about Wood Nymph Butterflies, continue reading to discover more species with eyes on their wings!
Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)
The Emperor Moth is a beautiful species of butterfly that can be easily recognized by its distinctive eye-like markings on its wings.
These markings serve as a defense mechanism, deterring predators from attacking. Let’s learn more about this fascinating species:
- Habitat: Emperor Moths can be found in a variety of environments such as meadows, forests, and heaths across Europe and into Asia.
- Appearance: These moths have a unique look with their prominent “eyes” on each of their four wings. Besides the eyespots, they also exhibit a range of colors from brown to pinkish shades and a mix of patterns.
- Size: This large moth species has a wingspan that ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches (6 to 10 cm).
- Diet: The larvae primarily feed on a variety of plants, while adult moths, interestingly, do not eat at all.
- Reproduction: Female Emperor Moths release pheromones to attract males, who have large feathery antennae to help detect these scents.
- Lifespan: Adults have a short lifespan of about 1 month, during which they focus on reproduction.
- Host Plants: Larvae of this species feed on plants like heather, bramble, and willow.
Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)
The Painted Lady Butterfly is considered one of the most widespread butterfly species. Its colorful patterns and adaptable nature make it a favorite among butterfly enthusiasts.
Let’s explore some fascinating details about the Painted Lady Butterfly:
- Habitat: These butterflies can be found almost anywhere in the world, ranging from North America to Europe, Asia, and even Africa. They prefer open habitats, such as meadows and gardens.
- Appearance: Painted Ladies are known for their vibrant colors, including orange, black, and white patterns on their wings.
- Size: Their wingspan is approximately 2 to 3 inches, making them a medium-sized butterfly species.
- Diet: As adults, their primary source of nutrition comes from nectar, which they feed on using their long proboscis. The caterpillars mainly feed on thistle plants.
- Reproduction: After mating, females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, eventually transforming into chrysalis and then adult butterflies.
- Lifespan: Adult Painted Lady Butterflies live for about two to four weeks. They are well-known for their long migration journeys, covering thousands of miles in search of suitable host plants.
- Host Plants: They lay their eggs on a variety of host plants, with a preference for thistle, hollyhock, and other plants from the Asteraceae family.
Blue Pansy Butterfly (Junonia orithya)
The Blue Pansy Butterfly, scientifically known as Junonia orithya, is an alluring species with striking patterns and eyespots on its wings.
Let’s dive into some interesting facts about this fascinating creature:
- Habitat: Blue Pansy Butterflies are commonly found in open grasslands, forests, and gardens in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
- Appearance: These butterflies boast an impressive combination of colors: black, blue, and orange, along with distinctive eyespots on their wings that help deter predators.
- Size: Adult Blue Pansy Butterflies generally have a wingspan ranging from 5 to 6 cm.
- Diet: Their primary source of sustenance is nectar from flowers, but they occasionally consume fruit juice and honeydew, too.
- Reproduction: They reproduce sexually, with females laying eggs on selected host plants after mating.
- Lifespan: Blue Pansy Butterflies have a relatively short lifespan of about 3-4 weeks as adults, with their entire life cycle spanning around 7 weeks.
- Host Plants: These butterflies use plants from the family Acanthaceae to serve as hosts for their eggs, such as Ruellia tuberosa and Strobilanthes cusia.
Next time you spot a Blue Pansy Butterfly flitting around in your garden, take a moment to appreciate its intricate beauty and marvel at its unique features.
Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)
The Red Admiral Butterfly is a beautiful species that can be found across North America, Europe, and even in parts of Asia.
Here are some fascinating features of this butterfly:
- Habitat: Red Admirals can be found in a variety of habitats such as gardens, woodlands, and meadows.
- Appearance: These butterflies are characterized by their black wings with striking red bands and white spots. The underside of their wings resembles a more camouflaged brown pattern.
- Size: They have a wingspan of about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm), making them a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult Red Admirals feed on nectar from various flowers like milkweed, aster, and butterfly bush. They also enjoy sap and rotting fruit.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the leaves of host plants. The caterpillars then weave a leaf shelter to protect them during their development.
- Lifespan: Adult butterflies usually live for around 2-3 weeks during the warmer months, but those who emerge in the fall can live up to 9 months in a state of hibernation.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars of this species feed on nettles, such as stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica).
Overall, the Red Admiral Butterfly is a truly stunning creature with an intriguing life cycle and a fascinating variety of habitats and food sources.
Purple Emperor Butterfly (Apatura iris)
The Purple Emperor is one of the most beautiful and majestic butterfly species with eyespots on its wings that you will come across in the wild.
This breathtaking butterfly is best known for its iridescent purple shades and distinctive wing patterns.
Here’s a quick overview of the Purple Emperor Butterfly:
- Habitat: You’ll find Purple Emperor Butterflies primarily in deciduous woodlands, especially where there are lots of willow, aspen, and oak trees located in Europe and Asia.
- Appearance: The male Purple Emperor Butterfly has iridescent purple upper wings, while the female has darker wings with white spots. Both sexes have striking eyespots on their lower wings.
- Size: This butterfly has a wingspan of about 65 to 80mm, making it a medium-sized species.
- Diet: Interestingly, Purple Emperor Butterflies prefer to feed on tree sap, aphid honeydew, and even animal excrement rather than nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Males are territorial, waiting on tree branches to mate with passing females. Females lay eggs singly on the tips of host plants.
- Lifespan: Adult Purple Emperor Butterflies typically live from 7 to 21 days.
- Host Plants: The main host plants for the Purple Emperor Butterfly are species of willows, aspens, and oaks which serve as a source of food for their caterpillars.
In conclusion, the Purple Emperor Butterfly is a stunning and unique species that adds flair and beauty to the woodlands in which it resides.
White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis Camilla)
The White Admiral Butterfly, scientifically known as Limenitis Camilla, is a beautiful woodland species that is sure to catch your attention.
Let’s dive into some fascinating details about this lovely creature.
- Habitat: The White Admiral prefers to live in shady woodlands and forest clearings, typically found in Europe and parts of Asia.
- Appearance: This butterfly features a stunning blend of white and brown coloring on its wings, which creates an intricate pattern. The eyespots in its wings are smaller compared to other butterflies in this list but are still noticeable.
- Size: The White Admiral has a wingspan ranging between 60 and 65 millimeters, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult White Admirals primarily feed on aphid honeydew, but are also known to enjoy nectar from plants such as bramble, thistles, and dogwood.
- Reproduction: These butterflies typically lay their eggs on the underside of honeysuckle leaves, and the emerging caterpillars will feed on these leaves as they grow.
- Lifespan: A White Admiral butterfly has a lifespan of roughly one month, which is spent searching for mates, laying eggs, and feeding.
- Host Plants: The primary host plant of the White Admiral Butterfly is honeysuckle, where their eggs are laid and the caterpillars find their food source.
Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
The Speckled Wood Butterfly is a fascinating species to observe, as it has unique and interesting characteristics.
This butterfly has striking eyes on its wings that play an essential role in its survival.
Here are some interesting facts about the Speckled Wood Butterfly:
- Habitat: These butterflies can be found in woodland areas and neighboring grasslands, where dappled sunlight filters through the trees.
- Appearance: They are brown with creamy white dots and eyespots on their wings. The eyespots are ringed with yellow, giving them a captivating appearance.
- Size: The wingspan of a Speckled Wood Butterfly ranges from 3.5 to 4 centimeters.
- Diet: As adults, these butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, while the caterpillars feed on grasses and herbaceous plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on the leaves of host plants. After hatching, the caterpillars feed on the plants before pupating.
- Lifespan: Adult Speckled Wood Butterflies have a lifespan of about three weeks.
- Host Plants: Some of their preferred host plants include grasses such as cock’s-foot, false brome, and Yorkshire fog.
Peacock Pansy Butterfly (Junonia almana)
The Peacock Pansy Butterfly is a fascinating butterfly species that showcases unique and eye-catching patterns on its wings which resemble eyes.
This butterfly species can be commonly found in various regions throughout Asia.
Let’s learn more about this astounding species:
- Habitat: Peacock Pansy Butterflies can be found in open grasslands, gardens, parks, and roadsides, mainly in countries like India, Indonesia, and China.
- Appearance: These butterflies have orange-brown wings with patches of blue and black, along with conspicuous eye-like patterns.
- Size: The wingspan of the Peacock Pansy Butterfly ranges from 2.2 inches to 3.1 inches (55-80 mm).
- Diet: Adult Peacock Pansy Butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, while their caterpillars feed on leaves of the host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their spherical eggs on the leaves of their host plants, where they develop into caterpillars and eventually metamorphose into adult butterflies.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan of adult Peacock Pansy Butterflies is about 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: The preferred host plants for Peacock Pansy caterpillars are from the plantain family (Plantago) and acanthus family (Acanthus).
Gray Pansy Butterfly (Junonia atlites)
The Gray Pansy Butterfly is a fascinating butterfly species known for its distinct wing patterns which resemble eyes.
These wing patterns not only make them beautiful but also serve as a protection mechanism, deterring predators. Found primarily in Asia, the Gray Pansy Butterfly is an interesting species to learn more about.
- Habitat: Open grasslands, forest clearings, and gardens; predominantly found in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and occasionally in East Asia.
- Appearance: Gray-brown wings with prominent, dark, circular spots that resemble eyes; female butterflies usually have larger ‘eye-spots’ than males.
- Size: Fairly large, with a wingspan ranging between 60-70 millimeters.
- Diet: Adult Gray Pansy Butterflies primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, while larvae feed on leaves of host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on host plants. Upon hatching, the larvae go through several larval stages before pupating and emerging as adults.
- Lifespan: Adults live for a short period, typically 2-4 weeks.
- Host Plants: Primarily plants from the Acanthaceae family, such as Hemigraphis and Ruellia.
Yellow Pansy Butterfly (Junonia hierta)
The Yellow Pansy Butterfly (Junonia hierta) is an eye-catching butterfly species with a beautifully symmetrical pattern on its wings.
This unique design helps them blend into their surroundings, but it also leaves an impression on observers.
Here’s a closer look at the Yellow Pansy Butterfly:
- Habitat: This butterfly is usually found in open grasslands, savannas, and forest clearings in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Appearance: The wings have yellow, orange, and black colors with white markings. The unique eyespot on each wing helps in deterring predators.
- Size: They have an average wingspan of about 45-55 mm, making them a medium-sized butterfly species.
- Diet: As adults, the Yellow Pansy Butterfly mainly feeds on nectar from various flowers. In their larval stage, they consume the leaves of their host plants.
- Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs singly on the leaves of their host plants. The eggs are barrel-shaped and typically a pale green color.
- Lifespan: The adult Yellow Pansy Butterfly has an average lifespan of around 2-3 weeks. The entire lifecycle, from egg to adult, can take up to 8 weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae primarily feed on plants from the family Acanthaceae, such as Rock-rose, Ruellia, and Dicliptera species.
The Yellow Pansy Butterfly is a stunning species with an eye-catching wing pattern. Despite its vivid appearance, it still manages to blend into its surroundings, making it a unique and fascinating creature to observe.
Forest Giant Owl Butterfly (Caligo eurilochus)
The Forest Giant Owl Butterfly is an intriguing creature that you’ll surely want to learn more about.
This captivating butterfly species is named after its owl-like appearance, which helps it blend in with its surroundings and ward off predators.
Here are some fascinating facts about this species:
- Habitat: Forest Giant Owl Butterflies thrive in rainforests, cloud forests, and adjacent habitats across Mexico, Central America, and the northern parts of South America. They are usually found in the lower areas near the forest floor.
- Appearance: The most notable feature of this butterfly is the large eye-like spots on the underside of its wings. These eye spots, which resemble an owl’s eyes, serve as a defense mechanism.
- Size: Forest Giant Owl Butterflies are quite large, with a wingspan ranging from 13 to 20 cm (5 to 8 inches).
- Diet: The adults primarily feed on rotting fruits, tree sap, and animal dung. Meanwhile, the caterpillars are known to feast on the leaves of various plants.
- Reproduction: These butterflies typically lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, where their caterpillars will have easy access to food once they hatch.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Forest Giant Owl Butterfly is about 3 months. However, their life expectancy varies depending on factors such as predators, weather conditions, and food availability.
- Host Plants: Forest Giant Owl Butterflies have a wide range of host plants, including banana, heliconia, and other plants in the family Musaceae.
Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellatus)
The Eyed Hawk-moth is a fascinating species of moth which displays unique eyespots on its wings.
These markings help this nocturnal insect deter predators by mimicking the eyes of a larger creature and, as a result, make it an interesting addition to our list.
- Habitat: The Eyed Hawk-moth can be found in various habitats, including forests, gardens, and hedgerows, across Europe and some parts of Asia.
- Appearance: The moth’s forewings are brownish with dark grey wavy lines, while the hindwings have beautiful “eyes” that resemble that of a predator.
- Size: Adult moths typically have a wingspan of about 70-85 mm.
- Diet: Eyed Hawk-moth caterpillars feed on leaves of willow, poplar, and apple trees. Adult moths do not feed.
- Reproduction: These moths are known to mate in a single night, after which the female lays eggs on the leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: The entire lifecycle of the Eyed Hawk-moth usually spans a single season.
- Host Plants: Willow, poplar, and apple trees are the preferred host plants of the Eyed Hawk-moth caterpillars.
This captivating species showcases the incredible diversity of insect life and demonstrates how eyespots can be a valuable method of defense in nature.
Dead Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus)
The Dead Leaf Butterfly, scientifically known as Kallima inachus, is a marvelous creature best known for its remarkable camouflage.
With the unique ability to mimic the appearance of a dead leaf, this butterfly can easily hide from predators while blending into its surroundings.
Here’s a glimpse of this incredible butterfly species:
- Habitat: Mainly residing in tropical rainforests of India, South China, Japan, and Taiwan
- Appearance: Brown on the outer wings, resembling a dead leaf; bright blue or orange on the inner wings, when opened
- Size: Wingspan ranging from 3.7 to 4.3 inches (9.5 to 11 cm)
- Diet: Primarily feeds on the nectar of various flowering plants
- Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on host plants, specifically on the undersides of fresh leaves
- Lifespan: Adult lifespan usually lasts from 6 to 8 weeks
- Host Plants: Favorite host plants include species of the Combretum – a family of climbing plants
This intricate beauty not only stands as an impressive example of nature’s creativity, but also serves as a reminder of the importance of biodiversity and its many wonders.
Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly (Enodia anthedon)
The Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly is an enchanting species native to North America.
Here’s what you need to know about this fascinating creature:
- Habitat: These butterflies prefer to dwell in moist wooded areas, where they can easily blend into their surroundings.
- Appearance: Northern Pearly-Eyes possess a unique combination of brown, grey, and white colors, with a striking set of eyespots on their wings that serve as a deterrent to potential predators.
- Size: Their wingspan ranges between 4.4 to 6.6 cm, making them medium-sized butterflies.
- Diet: Adult Northern Pearly-Eyes feed on sap, rotting fruit, and occasionally animal dung, while their caterpillars mainly consume grasses.
- Reproduction: Males wait for females in their territory and engage in a courting ritual before mating. Females lay their eggs on the food plants of the caterpillars.
- Lifespan: Adult butterflies generally live for about two weeks, whereas their overall life cycle lasts around one year.
- Host Plants: Northern Pearly-Eye caterpillars primarily feed on various grass species, such as bearded shorthusk, bottlebrush grass, and broadleaf wood oats.
Banded Peacock Butterfly (Papilio palinurus)
The Banded Peacock Butterfly, scientifically known as Papilio palinurus, is a stunning species you need to know about.
Even though its name suggests it is related to peacocks, this butterfly is not related to birds but is a member of the swallowtail family.
Here’s some information on this magnificent creature:
- Habitat: They thrive in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
- Appearance: Distinct green bands with iridescent scales on a black base, resembling the eyes of a peacock’s tail feathers.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging between 80 and 100mm, they’re considered medium to large-sized butterflies.
- Diet: The adults mainly feed on nectar from flowers, while the caterpillars munch on leaves of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their spherical, pale green eggs singly on the host plants.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan is around two to three weeks for adults.
- Host Plants: Primary host plants are from the family Rutaceae, particularly citrus species like oranges and lemons.
Knowing about these fascinating butterfly species, not only helps you appreciate their beauty but also understand their role in nature.
Next time you spot a Banded Peacock, take a moment to enjoy these hidden gems of the rainforest.
These 20 fascinating butterfly species, with their eye-catching, eye-like patterns on their wings, never cease to amaze and delight nature enthusiasts.
Not only do they boast stunning appearances, but their unique wing patterns also serve as ingenious defense mechanisms.
We hope this list has piqued your interest in the breathtaking world of butterflies, and we encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences with these remarkable creatures in the comment section below.