Bug of the Week: Glasswing Butterfly

Today's featured insect was inspired by a new children's picture book, Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story by Elisa Kleven.

glasswings

Have you ever heard of a glasswing butterfly?

Greta_Oto_(Glasswing)_Butterfly

(Photograph by Scott Wylie, found at Wikimedia or his Flickr page)

The common name glasswing may refer to a number of different types of butterfly throughout the world, but we are going to focus on those of the tribe Ithomiini found in Central America. The wings lack scales and have other properties that make them transparent except for the edges.

Like our monarch butterfly, the glasswing larvae feed on a toxic plant (in this case nightshades) and become distasteful themselves. There is some evidence that the adult butterflies may be protected by chemicals, as well.

Also like the monarch, these butterflies migrate, flying from place to place.

Glass Wings _02_1

(Illustration from Glasswings, used with permission from Elisa Kleven)

Here's a short video showing some glasswing butterflies, one drinking from a flower. Isn't it interesting how the different colors show through, almost like a picture frame?

Aren't they amazing? It makes me want to travel to Costa Rica right now, what about you?
Have you ever seen a glasswing butterfly?
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Hopefully Glasswings will inspire others to create resting places for butterflies on their journeys. See Monarch Watch for information about planting a butterfly garden

For more about Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story by Elisa Kleven see the review at our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil.

Age Range: 3 - 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
Publisher: Dial (April 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0803737424
ISBN-13: 978-0803737426

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