Owl Butterfly Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Imagine a butterfly that can fool prey into thinking it is an owl! In this lesson, discover not only how the owl butterfly can mimic the look of an owl, but also other amazing facts about this unique creature.


Some people think these butterflies are pests, but I bet you'd think they're pretty cool. Why? Mostly because of their amazing ability to fool other creatures into thinking they are owls! That's right - these spectacular creatures have spots on their wings that resemble the eyes of owls.

You've decided it is time to set out and find one of these creatures for yourself. However, before you do, you are going to have to discover a few facts about these owl copycatters known as owl butterflies.

An Owl Butterfly with Wings Up


If you want to see the owl butterfly, you will need to travel into the dense rainforests of Central America, South America, and Mexico. These butterflies like rain, but you won't find them in places with heavy rainfall. You might also find them on banana plantations or farms where they like to lay their eggs.

Body Structure and Life Cycle

Owl butterflies only live for about 130 days. That's a short life! Remember, though, that all butterflies start off as caterpillars. So to better understand them, let's take a look at their life cycle. First, after about twenty days in an egg, these creatures burst forth as large, spiny-looking caterpillars. As caterpillars, they devour plants and really enjoy banana leaves, which is why people on banana farms consider them pests. After about sixty days of living a caterpillar's life they form a chrysalis, and for the next twenty to thirty days undergo a magnificent change. Finally, the caterpillar springs forth as a beautiful owl butterfly and flutters around drinking juice from fruits.

Owl Butterflies Feeding on Fruit Juice

During its 20 day life as an owl butterfly, it can grow to almost eight inches, which is rather large in the butterfly world. To give you a perspective, that's about as wide as a sheet of notebook paper! These big butterflies are brownish-gray in color, but what makes owl butterflies so special is what you will find on the underside of their wings: eyespots.

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