Scarlet Mormon

Some butterflies are amazing examples of biological diversity, and the Scarlet Mormon (Papilio rumanzovia) is one such butterfly. It’s a regular in the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing.

For one thing, it’s “sexually dimorphic,” that is, the male and female butterfly look different. That’s not the case with all butterfly species. Both sexes are large with spectacular coloring — black with scarlet patches marked by black eyes. But only the male has subtle blue tinges on the hindwings.

The Scarlet Mormon is also “polymorphic,” that is, there are variations even within the species. In this butterfly’s case, it’s only with the females. Different females can have slightly different markings, but all males look the same.

By Nathan Brockman