06 Feb The Razzle Dazzle of the Blue Morpho Butterfly
Somewhere near the beginning of time—okay, maybe it was just the early ‘60s—my family took an epic trip to South America. Brazil, which was towards the beginning of the trip, is forever seared on my brain. The smell of sizzling steaks, the endlessly twining emerald vines, the puff of diesel exhaust from a thousand city buses—all of it touched my senses and wove into my memory, which is exactly what the gift of travel does.
One of my more shocking memories occurred when we ventured into the local tourist shops and saw the glass-covered plates and trays filled with spiders and butterflies. Unfortunately, the spiders only added to the arachnophobia that I already lived with as a nine-year old. The butterflies—sad as it was to see them under glass—mesmerized me.
The Blue Morpho, in particular, caught my eye. Its iridescent blue wings flashed even under the glass. We never saw the underside of the wings, which is speckled with “eyes” to scare away predators. Over 80 varieties of this specie, which range in wingspan from three to eight inches, inhabit the Amazon. Blue Morhpos flutter their wings slowly, so the wings flash blue and then they disappear and reappear further away. It’s a great way to foil predators.
This is a particularly potent memory because our latest Pack-n-Go Girl adventure is set in the steamy jungles of Brazil, home of pink dolphins and, yes, gigantic spiders. You’re going to love Mystery of the Troubled Toucan.
To get you in the spirit of the tropics (and to bring back my childhood), here’s a fun and easy craft project to do with your kids or in your classroom to celebrate the beauty of the Blue Morpho.
Blue and turquoise tissue paper (not bleeding)
Black paint or permanent marker
1. Spread out the wax paper. Spread a thin layer of liquid starch on the wax paper.
2. Tear the blue and turquoise tissue paper into small pieces. Spread them out on the liquid starch.
3. Lightly sprinkle the glitter on the tissue paper.
4. Let it dry. With the marker or paint, draw the outline of a butterfly. Draw in the body at the center.
5. Cut along the lines of the butterfly.
6. Tape the butterfly to a window where the sun shines in. Enjoy your Blue Morpho!
We hope you enjoy Mystery of the Troubled Toucan too!