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What is the name of a lime green butterfly?

What is the name of a lime green butterfly?

Butterflies come in a stunning array of colors and patterns. While most people are familiar with common shades like yellow, orange, and black, some butterfly species display more unusual hues. One such example is the lime green butterfly. Though not as widespread as other butterfly colors, vibrant lime green can be found on certain tropical butterfly species. If you’ve ever wondered what species sport this eye-catching shade, read on to discover the names of lime green butterflies.

Common Lime Green Butterfly Species

There are a number of tropical butterfly species that feature lime green coloring. Here are some of the most common:

Green Morpho

The Green Morpho butterfly (Morpho cypris) is one of the most vibrant and notable lime green butterflies. Native to Central and South America, it lives in tropical rainforests and is known for its iridescent green upper wings. When the wings are closed, the undersides are a dull brown and act as camouflage. But when open, the brilliant metallic green upperwings shine against the dark forest backdrop.

Green-banded Urania

The Green-banded Urania (Urania leilus) is another stunning tropical lime green butterfly. Found in Central and South America, this species has velvety black wings crossed by vibrant lime green bands. The undersides of the wings are brown with eye-like spots to help the butterfly blend into the rainforest when its wings are closed. But the upperwings flash their brilliant green bands when open, making the Green-banded Urania easy to spot.

Green Oakblue

The Green Oakblue (Arhopala clitorea) is a butterfly found in Asia that lives up to its name with green upperwings. Ranging from lime green to olive green, the wings of the Green Oakblue shine brightly when open. The undersides are mottled brown, providing camouflage when the butterfly is at rest. This species can be found in forests and jungle habitats from India to the Philippines.

Emerald Swallowtail

The Emerald Swallowtail (Papilio palinurus) earns its name from its gleaming green coloration. Found in Southeast Asia and parts of Australia, it has vivid lime green upperwings and a tails on its hindwings, much like other swallowtail butterflies. But its brilliant green hue makes it stand out when in flight. The undersides of the wings are striped black and white for camouflage when landed.

Other Lime Green Butterfly Species

In addition to those already mentioned, here are some other butterflies that feature lime green coloring:

  • Green Dragontail (Lamproptera meges)
  • Palm Dart (Telicota colon stinga)
  • Green Capped Jay (Graphium evemon eventus)
  • Small Green Oakblue (Arhopala bazaloides)
  • Scarce Green Oakblue (Arhopala zambra)
  • Powdered Oakblue (Arhopala abseus)

These species all sport bright lime green upperwings when open, though the shade may vary from lighter pastel or neon tones to deeper forest greens. They live in tropical forests throughout Asia and exhibit camouflage patterns on their undersides when closed.

What Makes Lime Green Coloration in Butterflies?

The vibrant lime green color found on the upperwings of these butterflies is produced by structural coloration. Tiny microscopic scales on the wing surface refract light and produce an iridescent green hue. The effect is similar to a soap bubble or an oil slick on water. As the butterfly moves, the color may shift between green, aqua, turquoise, and yellow-green depending on viewing angle. This type of iridescent structural color is quite different from green pigmentation.

Some key facts about structural coloration in butterflies:

  • Caused by light interference due to the structure of microscopic wing scales
  • Produces iridescent, shimmering color that changes with viewing angle
  • Allows butterflies to create colors not possible with pigments
  • Required precise scale structure – very small differences alter the color

This phenomenon allows butterflies like the Green Morpho to dazzle with intense greens not found in nature. The iridescence may also serve as a signal to attract mates.

Habitats of Lime Green Butterflies

Nearly all lime green butterfly species live in tropical forests and jungles in Central and South America, Asia, and Australia. The warm, humid conditions of these habitats allow lime green butterflies to thrive. A few key facts about their typical habitats:

  • Tropical rainforests with broad-leafed trees and dense vegetation
  • Warm year-round temperatures from 70-95°F
  • High humidity levels around 70-100%
  • Frequent rainfall providing lush greenery
  • Low levels of light on forest floors

The constant warmth, humidity, and greenery provides an ideal environment for lime green butterflies and their host plants. And the low light conditions make their iridescent wings shine even more brightly by contrast.

Flight Behavior and Feeding Habits

Lime green butterflies exhibit flight patterns and behaviors suited to life in the tropics:

  • Powerful, fast flight for traversing across dense forests
  • Bright iridescent wings flash in sunlight above forest canopy
  • Frequent fluttering between sunspots on forest floor
  • Slow, hovering flight when drinking nectar from flowers
  • Quick evasive maneuvers to escape predators

When feeding, lime green butterflies use long proboscises to drink nectar from flowers. Favorite nectar sources include tropical plants like lantana, cordia, and pagoda flowers. Some lime green butterflies may also sip juices from rotting fruit. After mating, females lay eggs on the young leaves and shoots of host plants. Caterpillars that emerge feed on the leaves before forming chrysalises and transforming into butterflies.

Threats and Conservation

Due to their specialized tropical habitats, lime green butterflies face threats from:

  • Deforestation destroying rainforest habitats
  • Pesticide use impacting host plants and caterpillars
  • Climate change altering temperature and rainfall patterns

Deforestation poses the most severe threat, as logging and land clearing destroys vital rainforest habitat. Protected reserves help provide sanctuary to lime green butterfly populations. But more habitat conservation is needed to prevent further declines.

Interesting Facts About Lime Green Butterflies

Beyond their beautiful coloring, lime green butterflies have some fascinating qualities:

  • Iridescent wings shine in ultraviolet as well as human visible light
  • Lime green color is specifically tuned to forest lighting conditions
  • Shiny wings may serve to startle or distract predators
  • Their bright color helps them find mates in dense tropical foliage
  • Rainforests contain over 80% of the world’s butterfly species

From special light effects to ingenious adaptations, lime green butterflies reveal the wonders of natural selection. Their stunning beauty provides just one example of the amazing diversity of life that tropical rainforests contain.


The sight of a lime green butterfly fluttering through filtered forest light is an unforgettable experience. This vibrant tropical coloration arises from intricate microscopic wing structures rather than pigments. Lime green butterflies like the Green Morpho, Green-banded Urania, and Emerald Swallowtail inhabit lush equatorial forests across Asia, Australia, and the Americas. But deforestation and climate change threaten these fragile habitats and the spectacular species they contain. Conserving protected sanctuaries will be crucial for preserving lime green butterflies and the vitality of Earth’s tropical rainforests.