Monday, 2 March 2015

Creature 153: Greta oto

This butterfly just has to be different

Greta oto is a species of butterfly which in English is referred to as a Glass winged butterfly. It gets its name from its unusually transparent wings.

Most butterflies are known from their brightly colored wings,  which are a result of a multitude of tiny scales. The glass winged butterfly decided it wanted to be different and lacks the scales present on other butterflies except around the edges. Most insect wings are fairly transparent, but dense venation and the fact that you usually on see them when they folded over the abdomen give them a translucent appearance. The glass butterfly looks unusual because you can easily see straight through its wings.

Glass winged butterflies lay their eggs on toxic nightshade plants. Their caterpillars have a tolerance to the poison which accumulates in their tissue making them poisonous and protecting them from predators. Adult males use the poison to produce pheromones. When they are ready to breed several males gather together and release pheromones together increasing the chance of female encountering the group. The males in the group will then compete with each other to get the attention of the females. This behavior is known as lekking.

Glass winged butterflies are endemic to Central America and Southern United States.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Greta
Species: Greta oto

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