Posts Tagged 'butterfly'

oriental plain tiger

Posted by on 11 Apr 2014 | Category: photography, prakriti

The plain tiger enjoys a celebrity status of being the first butterfly in the recorded history. It was depicted in a painting, with its distinct colors and patterns, in the tomb of Nebamun in Egypt, circa 1350 BCE – that’s more than 3300 years before!

oriental plain tiger, male at korlai, maharashtra

It’s a tiger not merely in its stripes and colors. It is a terror to potential predators too! Their bodies contain toxic alkaloids from plants, which they have devoured as a larvae. Birds and predators memorize and associate the unsavoriness of these butterfly species with their patterns and habits, and try to avoid them. This, in turn, is found to have evolutionary consequences in other “edible” butterflies, which ended up mimicing similar colors and patterns in order to escape from the predators.

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popinjay, scat puddling

Posted by on 27 Jul 2013 | Category: photography, prakriti

If you are on butterfly watch on a trail, the best place to spot them would be over rotten fruits—or animal scats. Butterflies do mud puddling for their sodium/salt intake. Probably for similar reasons, they also end up on animal scats, and the behavior can be called scat puddling.

popinjay butterfly, stibochiona nicea

The image here is of a popinjay butterfly, intoxicated by the decomposing animal scat, and unaware of the surroundings. There are more butterflies enjoying the feast, in the image below—how many can you spot?
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common yellow swallowtail

Posted by on 15 Jun 2013 | Category: photography, prakriti

The swallowtail family of butterflies include the largest butterflies in the world. The common yellow swallowtail here is a widespread species, through Asia, Europe and North America. The image here is from the Island of Rhodes in Greece, but a subspecies of the same occurs in India.

common yellow swallowtail, papilio machaon

It is interesting to note that in some species of the papilionidae family of butterflies, the males glue the female genital tract after mating. Mating plugs, as they are called, assures sperm storage without any loss, and also has a role in preventing the females from remating- a function to enhance male control over females in copulation. Not sure if the yellow swallowtails have this capability.

Meanwhile, the caterpillars of the common yellow swallowtails have special tactics to detract enemies. They have an eversible (turn inside out) cervical gland called osmeterium, which produces acidic secretion effective in defense against ants.
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gaudy baron, mud puddling

Posted by on 09 Jun 2013 | Category: photography, prakriti

It is gaudy, and it is a baron! The gaudy baron butterfly has a splash of iridescent colors on its hindwings. The image here is of a female baron near a puddle. Butterflies show affinity to wet substrates to gather their supply of liquid nutrients, especially salts – a behavior known as mud puddling.

gaudy baron, euthalia lubentina

It is usually the males which do the mud-puddling, gather the essential salts, and transfer it to the females through it sperm, while mating. Hence the males are frequent puddlers as they need to replenish the sodiums after mating. The one in the image here is but a female. Why is it at a puddle instead of a flower? Research shows that old or worn out female butterflies which have lesser chances of re-mating, exhibit puddling to replenish their sodium reserves. Also, many female butterfly species do not re-mate, requiring them to gather their nutrients on their own. I am not sure if one of these is the reason for this female gaudy baron to be at the puddle. Puddling behavior varies from species to species. Some nymphalidae species use droplets from their abdomen to moisten the ground on which minerals are present.
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the indian moon moth

Posted by on 07 May 2013 | Category: photography, prakriti

With its large, cherubic features and long trailing tails, the moon moths are one of the prettiest among moths. The Indian Moon Moth belong to the family Saturniidae, commonly known as saturniids, which are among the largest of the moths.

indian moon moth, actias selene

The Indian moon moths are nocturnal or crepuscular – i.e. they favor night or dim/twilight conditions. They are also silk producing moths, and hence tagged as sericigenous. A single cocoon of this moon moth can give continuous fiber of 300 to 350 meters. Silk moths are hence valued based on their voltinism, i.e. the number of broods they produce in an year. The Indian moon moths are trivoltine as they produce up to 3 generations of broods per year.
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