Home / Brush-Footed (Nymphalidae) / Polyphemus White Morpho (Morpho polyphemus)

Polyphemus White Morpho (Morpho polyphemus)

The Polyphemus White Morpho, a distinct variation within the Morpho butterfly family, stands out with its unique white coloration, diverging from the typical blue hues associated with its kin. Active predominantly between May and November, these butterflies are a splendid sight in their natural habitats across Mexico and extending into Central America.

White Morpho

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Morpho
  • Common names: White Morpho
  • Scientific Name: Morpho polyphemus


Unlike its iridescent relatives, the Polyphemus White Morpho exhibits a simpler, yet equally captivating, color scheme. This rarity among Morpho butterflies thrives in the lush, pre-montane forests that characterize its geographical range, engaging in a flight that is as fast as it is graceful.

Description and Identification


The larval stage of the Polyphemus White Morpho showcases a brushy body adorned with fine, reddish hair-like growths. These are strategically placed at both ends and the middle of the body, creating a striking contrast against its yellow-colored segments.


Transitioning into pupae, these creatures develop a smooth, green chrysalis. It dangles elegantly from the undersides of leaves, camouflaged amidst the foliage of their host plants.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: This species does not exhibit significant visual differences between males and females.

Color and Appearance: In flight or at rest, the adult butterfly’s wings are a brilliant white, detailed with subtle light brown and tan markings. Closed wings reveal a delicate orange border and a line of small eyespots on the secondary wings.

White Morpho ButterflyMorpho polyphemusAverage Wingspan: 127 mm to 165 mm (5.0 – 6.5 in).

Flight Pattern: Characterized by its rapid, flapping motion, the Polyphemus White Morpho is adept at swift, agile flight.


The eggs are laid individually, presenting a dull whitish hue that blends seamlessly with the leaves of the host plant.

Quick Facts

DistributionFrom Mexico through Central America to Costa Rica.
HabitatPrefers the premontane forests of tropical regions with a clear dry season.
Lifespan of AdultsApproximately 14 days.
Host PlantsFavors Paullinia pinnata from the Sapindaceae family and various Inga species of the Fabaceae family.
Adult DietNourishes on flower nectar and decaying fruit.

How to Identify Polyphemus White Morpho?

Identifying the Polyphemus White Morpho can be a delightful challenge for enthusiasts and scientists alike. Look for its standout white wings, a rarity among the Morpho species known for their vibrant blues. In sunlight, these wings can appear almost translucent, marked with faint tan and light brown patterns that are visible when the wings are fully spread. The presence of small, distinct eyespots on the underside of the wings is another key feature. Observing the butterfly’s fast, fluttering flight pattern can also aid in identification, as it moves swiftly between flowers and host plants. Paying attention to these characteristics, along with the butterfly’s habitat preferences and the time of year, will help in recognizing this exquisite creature.

Did You Know?

  • The species name “polyphemus” is inspired by the one-eyed giant from Greek mythology, alluding to the distinctive eyespots on the butterfly’s wings.
  • There is debate among experts regarding its classification, with some proposing Morpho luna as a subspecies, which would adjust its scientific name accordingly.
  • The Polyphemus White Morpho’s white coloration is not just a matter of beauty; it plays a crucial role in thermoregulation, reflecting sunlight to keep the butterfly cool in its tropical habitat.


The Polyphemus White Morpho butterfly is a marvel of nature, combining elegance with simplicity in its appearance. Whether you’re a seasoned entomologist or a casual observer, the pursuit of this rare white Morpho offers a glimpse into the diversity and wonder of the natural world. With its fascinating life cycle, unique dietary preferences, and the mythological echoes in its name, the Polyphemus White Morpho stands as a testament to the intricate beauty that flies quietly in our midst.

Polyphemus White Morpho Pictures

Polyphemus White Morpho
White Morpho Butterfly Pictures
White Morpho Images

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Morpho
  • Common names: White Morpho
  • Scientific Name: Morpho polyphemus
Published by Avatar on March 24, 2019.
Last Updated: March 9, 2024. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team