HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

April 14, 2008
Harvard Square Pictorial

Transparent Butterfly

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In April, we celebrate Earth Day, and we thought passing on this e-mail we received would be appropriate.

It comes from Central America and is found from Mexico to Panama. It is quite common in its zone, but it not easy to find because of its transparent wings, which is a natural camouflage mechanism.     

A butterfly with transparent wings is rare and beautiful. As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red. All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed. In life that which is unnoticed often has the most power.