Caligo atreus

Yellow-edged Giant Owl

Basic Information

General information

Family: Nymphalidae
Sub Family: Morphinae
Estimated Lifespan 35 Days

Garden Specific Information

Estimated Number In Flight: 0
Total Number of Pupae Received: 1216
First Flown On: 11/18/02
Last Flown On: 04/26/24

Species Range:

  • NorthAmerica
  • SouthAmerica

Host plants:

  • The larvae are known to feed on plants in the families Heliconiaceae
  • Cycanthaceae and Musaceae (Bananas).

Food Source

The adults feed almost exclusively on rotting fruit.

Etymology Of Name

The genus Caligo is Latin for fog, mist or darkness. Atreus in Greek mythology was the king of Mycene.


The Owl Butterfly is primarily found in dense rainforest but occasionally they visit plantations to lay their eggs.

Life history

The Owl Butterflies do the majority of their flying during dawn and dusk. In the evening the males patrol for receptive females. Mated females lay their eggs individually or in groups. The caterpillars are very gregarious and usually feed in groups on the host plants.


Because of the long lifespan of the adult and the multiple generations each year it is possible to find adults throughout most of the year.

Fun Facts

As caterpillars the Owl Butterflies can eat a large amount of host plant leaves. Since one of their host plants is the banana plant the Owl Butterfly is considered a pest in areas where bananas are grown. They are such a big pest that work is being done with parasitic wasps to find a biological control agent.