Glasswing (Greta oto)
The Glasswing is a species of very popular butterflies known for their typically transparent wings, helping in easy camouflage in the dense forests of the Americas. This makes them quite difficult to trace. They are often confused with the similar-looking species Greta. They are migratory and can travel up to 19 km per day at a speed of up to 13 kmph.
Description and Identification
The caterpillars are green with bright stripes in purple and red. They have a cylindrical body with dorsal projections smoothened with filaments, making them reflective. This adaptation help them stay almost invisible to predators.
The chrysalis is silver in color and remains hung with the help of a silk pad on the lower surface of leaves.
Sexual Dimorphism: Not present
Color and Appearance:When the wings are open, they display a minimum coloration with opaque borders in dark brown, with a hue of red or orange. When the wings are closed, they exhibit an identical coloration.
Average wingspan: 5.6 to 6.1 cm (2.2 to 2.4 in)
Flight pattern: Moderate speed
White in color with a cylindrical shape, and laid one at a time on the underside of the leaf surface
|Distribution||Common in Central to South America to as far south as Chile|
|Habitat||Only in the tropical rainforests|
|Host plants||Poisonous species belonging to the genus Cestrum|
|Lifespan||6 to 12 weeks|
|Adult diet||Primarily nectar of the 150 flower species from the genus Lantana; they would also consume flowers and bird droppings|
Did You Know?
- The caterpillar feeds on toxic plants to turn poisonous in turn, as a defense against predator.
- In Spanish speaking regions, they are popularly known as espejitos, which means ‘little mirrors’, because of their transparent appearance.
- Though their wings appear delicate, these butterflies are able to carry up to 40 times their own body weight.