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The Paper Kite Butterfly

Updated on January 25, 2017
Paper Kite Butterfly Sipping Nectar from Purple flowers
Paper Kite Butterfly Sipping Nectar from Purple flowers | Source

The Lovely Paper Kite Butterfly

The paper kite butterfly only has two rather common colors, black and white, but is still an eye-catching beauty. The way the light shines through the wings is just amazing, and if there are other colors around it looks a bit like stained glass. These beauties come from Malaysia and the Philippines and Southeast Asia in general. Their official name is Idea leuconoe. They are also known as the white tree nymph, or rice paper. Some lepidopterists call this butterfly the large tree nymph to distinguish it from a similarly colored, smaller butterfly, the Ideopsis juventa or small wood nymph. Both of these butterflies are part of the brush-footed butterflies, or family Nymphalidae.

Your best bet to see one of these, outside of their natural habitat, is in a butterfly house or conservatory. Keep an eye out for butterfly exhibits that may come to your local area. I have always thought of butterflies as "flying flowers" for obvious reasons. I took the picture of the paper kite above and just loved the tropical pink flower behind it, and felt lucky that he stopped flying long enough for me to get this picture.

The Beautiful Paper Kite, or Large Wood Nymph enjoying nectar from a flower.
The Beautiful Paper Kite, or Large Wood Nymph enjoying nectar from a flower. | Source
A paper kite butterfly resting on one of the tropical plant leaves.
A paper kite butterfly resting on one of the tropical plant leaves. | Source

More details about the Paper Kite

The wingspan of the paper kite is generally about 6 inches across or 15cm. They eat flower nectar like many other butterflies do. When you see them flying, their wings have a slower rhythmic fluttering than some other butterflies do, which makes them all the more beautiful and magical as they are flying about.

They live just below the forest canopy and enjoy the coastal regions. Of the "milkweed butterflies," this one is the largest. The subfamily is called Danainae. When you hear about the slower flying pattern, you may think this would be helpful to hungry predators. Their predators learn that they don't taste very good, so it is a helpful survival trait.

The pupae of the paper kite is a bright gold color, which is very different from the final colors when it emerges as the beautiful butterfly that we enjoy.

Paper Kite Butterfly
Paper Kite Butterfly | Source
Paper Kite and Purple Flowers
Paper Kite and Purple Flowers | Source

Philippines & Malaysia, home to Paper Kite Butterflies

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Paper Kite Butterfly Resting On a Tree Branch
Paper Kite Butterfly Resting On a Tree Branch | Source

Paper kite Butterfly Poll

Have you ever seen a Paper Kite Butterfly in person, like in a conservatory or in its natural habitat?

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© 2010 Paula

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    • oceansnsunsets profile image
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      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Denise, thank you so much. I love the intricacies and beauty of them, though I guess that is stating the obvious! I think they are a work of art, and thank you for your comment.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Butterflies have always held a special meaning for me. I consider it one of my animal totems. Beautiful and such delicacy, this butterfly which I was unfamiliar with. Delightful.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you, and I will, as butterflies are one of my favorite things!

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 6 years ago from USA

      Love these butterfly hubs just revisiting some keep up the great work!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      BkCreative, thank you very much!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Wow what a beauty! Shows that black and white - with the right background and well of course being a magnificent butterfly - can be as gorgeous as a butterfly filled with color. This paper kite butterfly is breathtaking - whew!

      Rated up and thanks a million!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Scribenet. I will try to bring more in the future, I just love butterflies!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Phoenix!

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Butterflies are beautiful! I had never heard of this one...keep on informing us! Great Hub and Photos!

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 6 years ago from USA

      Great Hub great photos once again!