Gorgeous Glasswing Butterflies (42 Stunning Photos)

March 29th, 2013 Permalink

Nature has better tricks than even Photoshop, as these translucent glasswing butterflies illustrate. [42 Fabulous Photos]

Glasswing butterfly at the glasshouse at RHS Wisley

Not Photoshop, but transparent camouflage occurring in nature in a place other than in the sea. While there are numerous gardens that successfully raise glasswings in captivity such as seen here in the glasshouse at RHS Wisley, when found in nature, the glasswing thrives in central-American, especially Costa-Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela. Photo #1 by Farrukh (Swamibu)

Transparent glasswinged butterfly

The photographer wrote, “A transparent butterfly, shot in the Washington DC Smithsonian museum of natural history, in their live butterfly exhibit.” E.L.G. wrote, “Well-fed, the butterflies will last for at least 6 weeks, (and I suspect maybe as long as 12 weeks), and they don’t damage easily, despite their fragile appearance.” Photo #2 by Greg Foster


Glasswinged, or Glasswing, butterfly, seen at Edinburgh's Butterfly & Insect World, to be found at Dobbies Garden World, Lasswade, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Scotland

Glasswinged or Glasswing butterfly, seen at Edinburgh’s Butterfly & Insect World, Scotland. Photo #3 by

Greta Oto (Glasswing) Butterfly

The Greta Oto: according to Wikipedia, “The wings are translucent, with a wingspan of 5.6 to 6.1 cm (2.2 to 2.4 in).” Photo #4 by Scott Wylie

Glasswing butterfly, wings become windows

The photographer noted, “The clear wings make this South-American butterfly hard to see in flight, a successful defense mechanism.” Photo #5 by Eddy Van 3000

Glasswing butterflies can carry up to 40 times their body weight

A glasswing can carry up to 40 times its body weight. Photo #6 by pendens proditor

Crystal Butterfly, glasswing in a cloud forest in Hueyapan Township, north of the mountains of Puebla. Mexico

Spotted in a cloud forest in Hueyapan Township, north of the mountains of Puebla, Mexico. Photo #7 by César Hernández Hernández

Glasswing On Flowers

Bodies are dark and the opaque borders of the glasswings are often dark brown, but can be tinted with red or orange. Photo #8 by Hamish Irvine

Glasswing butterflies on a and a fluffy pink plant

In nature, the glasswing butterfly can be found living from Mexico through Panama. Photo #9 by Lorna Mitchell

Amazing metamorphosis from caterpillar to translucency of a glasswing butterfly

Amazing metamorphosis from caterpillar to translucency of a window. Photo #10 by labbradolci

Glasswing butterfly, transparency is a camouflage that is possible in a habitat with no surfaces to match or hide behind

Hidden in Plain Sight, a research paper, states (pdf), “Transparency is a camouflage that is possible in a habitat with no surfaces to match or hide behind.” This glasswing was seen at Butterfly Conservatory, El Castillo, Costa Rica. Photo #11 by Paulo Philippidis

Glasswinged butterfly at the London Zoo

Glasswinged butterfly at the London Zoo. Eggs hatch, then the green caterpillars eat toxic leaves. “Adults are also assumed to be toxic, but their toxicity results mainly from males feeding on flowers (e.g., Asteraceae) whose nectar contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These same alkaloids also are converted into pheromones by the males and used to attract females.” Photo #12 by Michael Camilleri

Glasswing on a bird of paradise

Glasswing on a bird of paradise. Photo #13 by Farrukh

Stunning captures of Glasswings, Translucent Butterfly (Greta Oto)

The Greta oto is one of the most commonly known examples, but more than 20 small butterflies have evolved to having clear wings. Those transparent wings make it difficult for predatory birds to track the butterflies in flight. Photo #14 by Erwin Bolwidt & #15 by bzd1

Glasswing and chrysalis at the Felinwynt Rain Forest Center

Glasswing with chrysalis, taken at the Felinwynt Rain Forest Center. “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly,” ~ quote by Richard Bach. Photo #16 by Kal Ahmed

Glasswing feasting pineapple

Glasswing feasting on pineapple. Photo #17 by Esther Simpson

Captive glasswing at Edinburgh Butterfly Farm, Scotland

Captive glasswing at Edinburgh Butterfly Farm, Scotland. Photo #18 by Sandy__R

Dinner for two

Dinner for two. Photo #19 by Rene Mensen

Glasswing butterfly perched on a yellow wildflower

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ecology and Physiology of Organismal Transparency (pdf) states, “Transparency is a fascinating and surprisingly common characteristic that has received little attention because the majority of transparent species are found only in the pelagic regions of the open ocean.” Photo #20 by stelene2011

5 sets of glass wings, Glasswinged butterflies

5 sets of glass wings. Photo #21 by Esther Simpson

Extraordinary evolution to transparency, glasswing butterfly

Extraordinary evolution to transparency is being studied to more fully understand it. Photo #22 by gynti_46

Future butterfly whisperers with glasswing butterflies

Young butterfly whisperers. “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder,” ~ quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Photo #23 by Jose R Valverde & #24 by zingyyellow…!

Glasswing in a palm

The photographer wrote, “The Glasswinged butterfly (Greta oto) is normally a skittish creature, but this one decided to spend some time on my left hand, resting there long enough to enable a few snaps to be taken with my camera held in the other hand! Most of this beastie’s wings are completely transparent, hence the common name.” Photo #25 by Dougie Mathieson

2 glasswing butterflies

Greta oto is a brush-footed butterfly. Photo #26 by labbradolci

Macro photography of glasswing butterfly face and eyes

Macro photography of glasswing’s face and eyes. Photo #27 by labbradolci

Transparent at Butterfly Garden, Icod delos Vinos, Tenerife, Spain

Transparent at Butterfly Garden, Icod delos Vinos, Tenerife, Spain. Photo #28 by Jose R Valverde

Glasswing butterfly in Amsterdam

Up-close and personal in Amsterdam. “Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes,” ~ quote Author Unknown. Photo #29 by Benjamin Pender

Glasswing butterfly is capable of 8mph as its top speed

Odd, random fact: The glasswing butterfly is capable of flying at speeds of up to 8 mph. Photo #30 by Scott Wylie

Greta oto - Glasswing

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty,” ~ quote by Maya Angelou. Photo #31 by David Tiller

Greta oto

“Life is short. If you doubt me, ask a butterfly. Their average life span is a mere five to fourteen days,” ~ quote by Ellen DeGeneres. Photo #32 by Rene Mensen

Two glasswing butterflies eating

Dr Seuss once said, “In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!” Photo #33 by labbradolci

Mariposa GlassWing-greta oto

John Keats wrote, “I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” Photo #34 by Leandre – Castellfollit Roca (Girona)

Glasswing at Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam

Glasswing at Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. Photo #35 by Ryan Somma

Before, the glasswing larva

Before: Glasswing larva feeding on Passifloraceae. Photo #36 by ferociall

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough, quote by Rabindranath Tagore

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough,” ~ quote by Rabindranath Tagore. Photo #38 by Wallpapers Wide

Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it'll crush. Hold it too loose, it'll fly

“Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush. Hold it too loose, it’ll fly,” ~ Author unknown. Photo #39 by WallpapersWa

Beautiful Glasswing Butterfly

“He said that we belonged together because he was born with a flower and I was born with a butterfly and that flowers and butterflies need each other for survival,” ~ by Gemma Malley. Photo #40 by FanPop

Glasswing Butterfly, Nature is capable of simply gorgeous wonders

Nature is capable of simply gorgeous wonders. “The earth has music for those who listen,” ~ George Santayana. Photo #41 by wallpaperforpc

The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity ~ quote by George Carlin

“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity,” ~ quote by George Carlin. Photo #42 by picc.it

Semi-related wonders in nature:
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Beautiful Tree Nymphs: Dazzling Red-Eyed Tree Frogs (16 PICS)

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