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The rainy season in Costa Rica is one of the best times to visit our paradisiacal country. Something that attracts the attention of our visitors is the great quantity and diversity of Costa Rica butterflies that can be seen everywhere during these dates.

While it is true that butterflies flutter our gardens and forests throughout the year, the transition months between the dry and the rainy season create the perfect conditions to appreciate best these colorful insects.

Costa Rican Butterflies

Biodiversity and Costa Rica butterflies

With an extension of 51,100 km2, which means an area smaller than Lake Michigan, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Thanks to its rich topography and location on the map, Costa Rica is a biological paradise.

Thousands of scientists have been amazed over the years by that 5% of all the biodiversity in the world that our country holds. To such a small country, the concentration of species is outstanding.

Our little paradise has almost 1,600 species of Costa Rica butterflies and at least 11,500 species of moths. If these numbers do not impress you, the fact 90% of all Central America butterflies species inhabits in Costa Rica or that 18% of the world’s butterfly population can be found in Tiquicia, will do the job and leave you speechless.

 

The life cycle of butterflies

Butterflies have always been a source of inspiration because of its poetic life cycle. Although the cycle is well known, there are some interesting facts that we would like to share with you.

The average life of the butterflies is very varied, it can go from one week to nine months. Generally, the bigger the butterfly is the longer is its life span.

Costa Rica butterflies metamorphosis

Image courtesy of demariposas.com

Egg

It is the first stage and it’s the most vulnerable one. The eggs are deposited in leaves by the mother butterflies. The leaves are chosen so that it serves as their first source of food. The shape of the egg depends on the type of butterfly.

Caterpillar

A curious fact of this stage is that although its main reason for being is to eat and gain size, the caterpillar’s skin does not grow or expand. What happens is that the Costa Rican butterflies will change its skin repeatedly during its growth. This phase lasts from 10 to 60 days.

Cocoon

When the caterpillar reaches a certain size, it wraps itself in a chrysalis, hanging itself from a leaf or branch or some species prefer to pupate underground. It is an amazing stage because although it seems to be at rest, the cocoon is rapidly changing its body in what will be its adult stage through a metamorphosis. This process lasts between 1 to 40 weeks, depending on the species and the weather, since if the temperature is low, the butterfly can hibernate until the temperature rises.

Imago

This is the name given to the adult butterfly stage. As soon as the butterfly leaves its cocoon,  it must rest for a period, after which will pump blood to its wings so that it can dry and spread, and finally fly away. This period can last from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

 

Another interesting fact is that once the female butterfly finishes its process of leaving the caterpillar and fly, it will seek to mate and thus begin the process again. On the other hand, males are not able to reproduce immediately as the female does, having the need to feed for a couple of days before being able to mate. This is why males are born before females.

 

 

The 5 most striking butterfly species in Costa Rica are:

1.Morpho Peleides

Blue morpho costa rica butterflies

Blue morpho butterfly sucking fruit juices

 

2.Greta Oto

Glasswing costa rica butterflies

Image courtesy of costarica.org

3. Danaus plexippus

Costa Rica Butterflies Monarch

Image courtesy of costarica.org

4. Phoebis philea

Costa Rica butterflies Phoebis Philea

Image courtesy of bugguide.net

 

5. Papilio thoas

Papilio_thoas Costa Rican Butterflies

Image courtesy of wikipedia

 

Where to see the Costa Rica butterflies

The Costa Rica butterflies can be seen throughout the country. In any garden in the country, you can find these beautiful insects fluttering and filling the landscape with color.

 

There are several butterfly farms or forests famous for their high concentration of species. When staying in one of our luxurious vacation rentals, you can ask your personalized concierge where to see and experience be close to the colorful Costa Rica butterflies.