11 most beautiful butterflies on the planet

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Butterflies are deservedly considered the most beautiful insects on our planet. Such a variety of shapes, sizes and shades can hardly be found among any other species. Their incredible beauty, grace and mystery have attracted thousands of people for centuries. Love for butterflies unites representatives of different races, cultures and religions, because the feeling of beauty has no limits. Today we will introduce you to the 'models' in the butterfly world – the most beautiful species on Earth.

Beauty in velvet wings: the most beautiful butterflies on the planet

Nomination a place name rating
Beauty in velvet wings: the most beautiful butterflies on the planet 11 Glory of Bhutan 4.0
10 Queen Alexandra's Birdwing 4.1
9 Urania (Chrysiridia) Madagascar 4.2
8 Hypolimnas bolina (Moon butterfly) 4.3
7 Greta oto (glass butterfly) 4.4
6 Madagascar comet 4.5
5 Sailboat Maak (Swallowtail Blue) 4.6
4 Kalima (Dead Leaves Butterfly) 4.7
3 Junonia oritya 4.8
2 Peacock sailboat 4.9
1 Prince of darkness 5.0

Glory of Bhutan

Rating: 4.0

Glory of Bhutan

The glory of Bhutan is a large butterfly, with a rather impressive wingspan: it reaches 12 cm. It differs in the original shape of its hind wings, the tips of which have 'tails' and are covered with an amazing beautiful pattern resembling berries.

This is a unique tropical butterfly that leads an exclusively diurnal lifestyle. But, unlike their own kind, it is quite active on foggy and rainy days. The glory of Bhutan prefers to fly at heights without fear of predators. It differs in an unusual manner of movement in the air: it flies smoothly, very slowly, but at the same time sharply changes the direction of movement, which confuses potential enemies.

But it is not only the manner of flying that repels predators who dream of eating a tasty insect from the butterfly: this is its taste. Despite the fact that the body of the winged creature emits a sweetish odor, the taste of the butterfly is very unpleasant, which is associated with its diet in the caterpillar stage (leaves of some food plants).

This species is considered endangered, and, despite a number of measures designed to control the capture and destruction of the butterfly, its population continues to decline: every year the glory of Bhutan is massively caught for the purpose of selling to collectors.

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

Rating: 4.1

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

Birds are the brightest representatives of Lepidoptera, reaching considerable sizes. But they got their unusual name for a completely different reason. The fact is that in the process of flight, a butterfly carries out an amplitude wingspan – just like birds do. The butterfly is considered the pearl of the rainforest and one of the rarest in the world: this beautiful endemic to New Guinea is nowhere else in the world.

The main area of ​​the butterfly is a small area near the city of Popondetta. The birdwing is considered an endangered species: as a result of the eruption of a local volcano in 1951, more than 250 km2 of the butterfly's natural habitat were destroyed. Regular, intensive deforestation does not contribute to an increase in the population of the species.

Butterfly Birdwing is considered the largest species among diurnal Lepidoptera with a wingspan of about 27 cm (individual representatives) and one of the most beautiful. Moreover, the females of this species are much larger than the males and differ in a less interesting color: while the males 'wings literally shine with a bright turquoise shade, the females' wings are painted in more modest cream, beige or black shades.

Urania (Chrysiridia) Madagascar

Rating: 4.2

Urania (Chrysiridia) Madagascar

An incredibly bright butterfly with an unusual color is an inhabitant of the tropics: it is a source of pride and a numerous inhabitant of the island of Madagascar. This Lepidoptera has amazingly colorful wings, which are dominated by red, pale blue and purple hues. It is noteworthy that the drawing is not always symmetrical, it depends on the characteristics of external factors even at the pupal stage. The bright color of the insect warns predators that potential prey is poisonous.

A special charm to the appearance of butterfly wings is given by individual black areas, between which colorless scales lie, refracting light. This creates the illusion of a change in the color of the insect's wings depending on which angle you look at it. A similar effect is due to an unusual color feature: unlike most other species, chrysiridia has not pigment, but combination (a combination of pigment and optics). On the hind wings of the butterfly there are so-called 'tails'.

Madagascar Urania is an endemic island where it migrates in populations isolated from each other. The subspecies of the butterfly, living in the west of Madagascar, live in a protected natural area, so they can boast of a large population, but the inhabitants of the eastern part of the island do not. The reason for this is the widespread deforestation of territories.

Hypolimnas bolina (Moon butterfly)

Rating: 4.3

Gipolimnas bolina

A small but bright inhabitant of the Australian latitudes, as well as an inhabitant of the territories of southeast Asia. The wingspan of this baby does not exceed 8 cm. Gipolimnas bolina has another name – 'diadem' – for its bright and unusual color: luxurious white, blue and red shades shimmer in the sun, like precious stones in a crown. Males have a slight difference from females: on their front wings they have white spots, which, when exposed to sunlight, sparkle with a pale purple color.

Quite often, the tiara can be found in sparse forests; it also loves to dwell in thorny bushes. This species is quite unusual among its own kind. Representatives of hypolimnas bolina behave aggressively towards other butterflies: they can drive them away from their own habitats and feed on their nectar. They also like to pick on rotten fruits.

The moon butterfly is distinguished by an unusually pronounced care for the offspring, which is a rarity for Lepidoptera. Before laying eggs on a leaf, the female carefully checks it for the presence of ants, and after laying eggs, she staunchly protects them.

Greta oto (glass butterfly)

Rating: 4.4

Greta Oto

This species is not just a unique, incredibly beautiful insect, but also an indicator of the stability of the ecological system of our entire planet. Looking at the Greta Oto butterfly, one might think that it is as fragile as a thin piece of glass. After all, her wings are almost completely transparent: only a red-black border reminds that they are. A similar effect is achieved due to the unusual structure of the insect's wings: almost their entire surface is devoid of pigment scales.

It is noteworthy that this species of butterflies is practically unknown to the inhabitants of South America, although it is considered the most numerous species in its range. Caterpillars of Greta Oto prefer to feed on solanaceous plants of the genus Cestrum, and adult butterflies prefer to feed on flower nectar. Being at the stage of a caterpillar, warming oto intensively accumulates toxic nitrogen-containing compounds (alkaloids) in tissues. An adult of this species is poisonous to predators.

Madagascar comet

Rating: 4.5

Madagascar comet

Another record holder for wingspan in our ranking – as much as 18 cm.Also known as the moon moth, the Madagascar comet boasts not only wingspan, but also their size: the lower wings of this beautiful butterfly are decorated with 20-centimeter 'tails', which often disappear after the first two flights.

The comet's color is bright yellow, complemented by a piquant detail: on each wing a kind of 'predatory' brown eye flaunts. Females and males of this species practically do not differ in size. Unless the shape of the wings is slightly different: in females they are more elongated and rounded, and their tails with antennae are much shorter.

The Madagascar comet is a nocturnal inhabitant, never showing activity during the daytime. This type of winged insect lives for only a couple of days, so it is not even surprising that it lacks a digestive tract and a mouth apparatus: it simply does not need them.

Often, representatives of the moon moth are eaten by lemurs and birds that love to feast on insects. Only a small part of the 170 eggs laid by the female Madagascar comet pass through all stages of development and die naturally.

Sailboat Maak (Swallowtail Blue)

Rating: 4.6

Maak's sailboat

This butterfly is considered the largest among the diurnal and, undoubtedly, the most beautiful among those living in Russia. Most of the swallowtail blue wing gleams with a pure emerald color. The lower part of the wings, on which there is no surprising dusting, is striking in the depth of the black color. It is believed that there are no two identical Maak sailing ships in the world. This species got its name in honor of the Russian naturalist, explorer of Siberia – Richard Maack.

On the territory of Russia, the swallowtail is often found on the Kuril Islands, in Primorye. Also, representatives of this species live in North Korea and Manchuria. Usually these butterflies prefer lowlands (mostly mixed and deciduous forests, at an altitude of up to 100 m), but during the flowering period of subalpine plants, they rise to 2 km in search of food.

In Soviet times, the blue swallowtail was listed in the Red Book of the USSR, but later excluded from there. At the moment it is included in the Red Book of the Sakhalin Region.

Kalima (Dead Leaves Butterfly)

Rating: 4.7


A butterfly of this species can be safely called not only one of the most beautiful, but also very unusual, because she is an unsurpassed master of camouflage. Also known as the 'tree leaf butterfly' or 'orange oak leaf butterfly', kalima is a world famous mimetic species (imitator) that lives in the vastness of tropical Asia. It can often be found in India and Japan.

The dry leaf butterfly is a very delicate insect, incredibly secretive, which contrasts quite strongly with its bright color: the front wings are represented by a bizarre but harmonious combination of black and orange stripes, gradually turning into a rich purple hue. But the inner side of the wings of a kalima is much more non-standard: when a butterfly sits down on foliage or a tree trunk, folding its wings, it cannot be distinguished from an ordinary dry leaf, even at close range. It looks like a leaf not only in color: in shape, the butterfly is also absolutely identical to it.

Junonia oritya

Rating: 4.8

Junonia oritya

The Australian endemic has a fairly wide habitat. He prefers to live in forest glades, clearings, meadows, along river banks, on grassy beaches, in gardens, city parks and even ravines. The length of the front wings of the butterfly reaches 27 mm, they are painted in dark gray, the hind wings stand out against a dark background with an iridescent light blue tint. On both the front and hind wings, the ocular spots are clearly distinguished. It was noted that some subspecies of this beautiful butterfly live not only in Australia, but also in Africa, Japan and southeast Asia.

Peacock sailboat

Rating: 4.9

Peacock sailboat

This representative of the hot tropics is considered one of the brightest among the Lepidoptera and bears a second name, just as striking as he himself, is the 'peacock butterfly'. And this is no accident. Behind the spectacular name is no less spectacular color: the edging of the hind wings of the butterfly has a black velvet color, the rest of the wings are of a deep dark green color with unusual emerald stripes on the inside. A spicy and highly sophisticated touch of nature.

There is an unusual characteristic detail on the upper part of the wings: it changes color depending on the angle of view and the intensity of light – from luxurious emerald to delicate turquoise. Such an original color is intended not only for an aesthetic function, it also has a practical basis – the likelihood of seeing a peacock sailing ship against the background of foliage is almost zero.

Like many other sailboats, this look is complemented by an original decoration – two 'droplets' located on the rear wings. The peacock butterfly looks especially unusual in flight: its movements are dynamic, impetuous and mesmerizing. This representative of Lepidoptera does not live so long – up to 10 days. Throughout its short life, the butterfly feeds on citrus fruits or a water-honey mixture, in which it finds an excellent alternative to flower nectar.

Prince of darkness

Rating: 5.0

Prince of darkness

The Prince of Darkness, also known as the Peacock Eye Atlas, is one of the varieties of giant butterflies and can surprise anyone with its truly gigantic size. The beautiful winged creature received its name ('atlas') in honor of the mythical hero Atlas, on whose shoulders the firmament was held. Indeed, only a colossal butterfly could receive such a name.

And this is really so: the wingspan of the prince of darkness reaches 30 cm. There are practically no such large butterflies in the world. The males of the species are somewhat different from the females: their front wings are slightly larger than the rear ones (in females they are of the same size). Hence the external sex difference – males have a shape similar to a triangle, females – with a square.

Interesting fact. As a caterpillar, the prince of darkness feeds on the leaves of trees, but after becoming a butterfly, it does not eat anything: it simply does not have a proboscis. This physiological feature determines a short life span – about 7 days.

But not only the short life of these butterflies is surprising, but also the unusual color of their wings. The coloring is very snake-like, as are the upper tips of the wings, incredibly similar to snake heads: an excellent way of camouflage and reliable protection from animals that like insects.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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