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Morpho Butterfly: A New National Symbol for Costa Rica

The Morpho Helenor Narcissus butterfly was declared this Thursday as a new national symbol of Costa Rica. The Bill of Law was promoted by the congresswoman Carmen Chan and, after being discussed in the Social Affairs Committee, it received the unanimous support of the 41 legislators present at the time of voting.

Costa Rica is home to many beautiful butterfly species. Actually, about 18% of the world’s species can be found in the country. There are over 1200 butterfly species fluttering around. 

The newly approved law states the Ministry of Environment and Energy will ensure the conservation and proper management of the Morpho Helenor butterflies. At the same time, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) will promote the butterfly’s image, both nationally and internationally, so the declaration as a national symbol becomes public knowledge.

Additionally, the Superior Council of Education, in coordination with the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), may teach in its educational programs the importance of the Morpho butterfly and the relevance of the declaration. For such purpose, it may be advised by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and its institutional departments.

Fundamentally, the law authorizes government institutions, local organizations, non-governmental organizations, as well as public and private companies, to develop and support initiatives that promote trade, exhibition, export, use of the image and derived and related economic activities related to the Morpho Helenor butterfly.

According to the Congress’ press release, this butterfly is the most popular species internationally and is recognized worldwide as an ambassador of environmental beauty, “transmitting messages such as freedom, peace, beauty and awareness of the citizen in favor of nature.”

Currently, Costa Rica has 18 national symbols: The National Coat of Arms, the Costa Rican Flag, the Guaria Morada, the Guanacaste Tree, the Yigüirro, the National Anthem, the Carreta (oxcart), the White-Tailed Deer, the Marimba, the Independence Torch, the Crestones of Chirripó National Park, the Manatee, Pre-Columbian Indigenous Spheres, Costa Rica’s National Theater, Costa Rican Coffee, the Sloth, Masquerades, and now, the Morpho Butterfly Helenor Narcissus.

The Morpho butterfly, masquerades, coffee and the sloth were all approved during the current legislature (2018-2022).

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