Fantastic butterfly types in Costa Rica amaze at Veragua Rainforest
Not only is Costa Rica home to remarkable biodiversity, new species are discovered all the time in the Central American nation.
Butterflies are one of the more plentiful species of wildlife in Costa Rica. Approximately 17,500 species of butterflies exist in the world, according to the Smithsonian Institute. Of those, there are about 1,251 butterfly types in Costa Rica and at least 8,000 moths.
A new species of butterfly was discovered a few years ago at Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure Park in Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast foothills. Previously only found in Mexico and Guatemala, the Dynastor macrosiris strix, a subspecies of the Dynastor macrosiris species, was found at Veragua Rainforest in 2011.
And after not being seen in Costa Rica for 98 years, the nocturnal butterfly Tetrisia florigera was spotted in Veragua Rainforest in July 2009. A female specimen of the very rare butterfly was caught by chance at Veragua in a butterfly trap by scientists studying fruit-eating diurnal butterflies. Costa Rica’s National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) reported that the Tetrisia florigera butterfly had last been seen in 1911 in San José by entomologist William Schaus.
To date, 11 new rainforest species have been discovered at Veragua by their scientists. The 3,400-acre private reserve is a hotspot of “incredible biodiversity” with “outstanding species richness”, according to Harvard University.
You can go butterfly spotting in Costa Rica at Veragua Rainforest’s Butterfly Garden, which is inhabited by hundreds of colorful butterflies, including the bright Blue Morpho. Veragua Rainforest tours let you visit the immense butterfly garden, plus visit their research lab where staff scientists study these vivid flying insects and other Costa Rica wildlife. Additional attractions include reptile and amphibian habitats, bird watching, walking trails through the rainforest, a river and waterfall, an aerial tramway, a canopy zip line tour, restaurant, and souvenir shop.
Veragua Rainforest also offers student educational programs that provide the opportunity for hands-on research of rainforest life and climate change.
- Butterflies are insects.
- They use their antennae for balance and smell, and their four-part wings are very delicate and easily damaged.
- Though their eyes are large and complex, butterflies have only basic sight – images are blurry, and butterflies essentially see only motion, light and color.
- Butterflies play the important ecological role of pollinator.
- In addition to sweet nectar, butterflies also feast on tree sap, rotting fruit and dissolved minerals often found in wet sand, dirt and animal droppings.
- A butterfly’s main goal in life is to reproduce. After mating, female butterflies lay approximately 100 eggs, the total for their lifetime. However, only 2-5% of the eggs will mature into healthy adult butterflies; the rest will be eaten by predators, lost to disease or other natural dangers.
- Butterfly eggs hatch into butterfly larvae, or caterpillars, which eat their way though all sorts of vegetable matter over the course of 10-60 days, growing strong and plump before entering the pupa or chrysalis phase.
- Hanging upside-down from a leaf or branch, mature caterpillars spin a chrysalis, or cocoon to metamorphose into a butterfly.
- Butterflies only live a total of 3-4 weeks.
Article by Shannon Farley