Ohio police just caught a suspected butterfly thief.
Yes, a butterfly thief. It wasn’t just any butterfly, though — it was an exotic blue morpho, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The stolen insect was one of thousands of free-flying butterflies at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati for the city’s “Butterflies of Madagascar” exhibit. There are 85 species fluttering around the conservatory, according to Cincinnati Parks.
Cincinnati police suspect that Jamie Revis, 36, swiped the rare insect. Surveillance camera footage at the observatory caught Revis pushing past someone at the door to the exhibit — butterfly in tow — around 5 p.m. on April 15, police said. From there, the suspect successfully ran off with the rare Morpho.
Police arrested the Springfield Township resident on Friday at 3 p.m., the Enquirer reports. Court documents said police used Instagram to identify Revis as the suspected thief, the Enquirer reports.
"Revis had multiple butterflies in her home and admitted to stealing four from the conservatory," said police, according to WCPO.
Luckily, there are thousands more butterflies at the exhibit, according to the Cincinnati Parks. That's not to mention the towering Baobab trees and stone forests the conservatory brought in, or the array of beautiful plants — from orange bidens and red celosia to purple salvia and green ipomoea. The exhibit is open until June 17.
The blue morpho is among the biggest butterflies in the world, according to the Rainforest Alliance, with a wingspan of up to eight inches. Their wings are covered in tiny scales that reflect light, creating their signature blue iridescent coloring. The underside of the butterflies' wings are brown, so that when morphos closes their wings they can easily blend into the forest and avoid predators.
The blue morpho that was stolen isn’t actually native to Madagascar, despite the exhibit's name. The butterfly is actually found in Central and South America. A butterfly expert told WCPO that the insect isn’t particularly rare, either, though its flamboyant colors mean it's a collector favorite.
Butterfly theft, on the other hand, is far from common.
"I have never heard of anyone stealing a live butterfly from a butterfly show," Stephen Matter, a University of Cincinnati biology professor, told WCPO after the theft.
Matter also told the WCPO that Cincinnati’s cold weather likely killed the tropical insect within days.