Butterfly Flash and Dazzle
By: Caroline Thrasher and Diana Sanchez
Suggested for all ages (with grown-up help for early learners, elementary age, and younger).
Some butterflies, like the Blue Morpho, use a technique called “flash and dazzle” to evade predators. By having different colors on the top (dorsal) sides and the bottom (ventral) sides of their wings, they can confuse predators as they fly. For many butterflies, their ventral side is made of neutral colors like black, brown, white, and grey. When they rest, they close their wings and camouflage or blend in with their surroundings. If they are disturbed while resting, they can “flash” their brightly colored wings to startle a predator so that they can safely get away.
Use our butterfly template to create your very own “flash and dazzle” butterfly. Then, follow the steps below to help your butterfly flap its wings.
List of Materials
- Butterfly template (Click Here)
- Two straws (craft will work best with at least one straw that is paper or plastic).
- 1 straw should be slightly thicker than the other and about ½ inch shorter than the thinner straw.
- Don’t have a straw? No problem! Follow these steps to make one: tightly wrap a piece of paper around two pens, markers, or pencils. Make sure one is thicker than the other. Secure paper with tape, and slide out the pen. The tighter you wrap the paper the better!
- Additional materials: crayons, coloring pencils, paint, glitter, anything you have at home to decorate your butterfly.
- Optional materials: ruler
Step by Step Instructions (how-to)
1. Take the butterfly template and fold the page in half.
2. Using scissors, cut out the butterfly. You can choose to cut along either dotted line. Guardians may need to help younger children with the scalloped edge.
3. Fold along the dotted line inside the butterfly to create a crease.
4. Decorate this side of the wings (which will be the ventral/bottom side) with neutral tones like black, brown, white. If you are using “wet” materials like paint or markers, make sure to let your decorations completely dry before the next step!
5. Flip over and repeat step 4.
6. Open up your butterfly and decorate the wings on this side (dorsal/top side) with bright colorful tones. Blue morphos are known for their bright blue wings!
7. Take your glue and glue inside the blank square and fold your butterfly in half once again. Let the glue completely dry.
8. As the glue dries, take the thin straw and cut a short (half inch) slit.
9. Insert the butterfly into the slit and secure with tape to the butterfly “body.”
10. Take the thicker straw and make sure it is about ½ inch shorter than the thinner straw.
11. Flatten one side of the thicker straw about three inches down. Carefully cut a straight line, about three inches deep.
12. Insert the thinner straw into the large straw, where you just made your cut. Tape down the second straw to the wings.
13. Your butterfly is now ready to Flash and Dazzle!