We'd like to introduce you to one of our favorite butterflies! It’s a tropical one, so you won’t find it in your backyard, but you can see it in our Butterfly House.
The Paper Kite (Idea leuconoe) butterfly is a large white and black patterned relative of the Monarch. It’s native to southeast Asia. Like its cousin the Monarch, Paper Kite caterpillars feed on poisonous plants making them and the subsequent butterfly unpalatable to predators. Paper Kite chrysalises are a beautiful bright gold and stand out in our emergence chambers. It can be surprising to see a black and white butterfly emerge from a gold chrysalis. Once this butterfly takes off, it's easy to see how they get their common name. Their flight is slow and floppy.
Their color pattern is a good example of aposematism or warning coloration. It’s like a huge sign telling predators, “don’t eat me I taste terrible and will make you sick!”
You can see this amazing butterfly and lots of other tropical species at Texas Discovery Gardens!