Butterfly -Beautiful Monarchs and Butterflies for Art
The beautiful butterfly is typically brightly colored, and it has become very popular in art in the United States. Butterflies are interesting, as well as, helpful for the environment. Many butterflies pollinate flowers and some eat harmful insects, however, they feed primarily on the nectar of flowers. Butterflies sense the air for scents, nectar and wind with their antennae. A butterfly’s sense of taste is located on the tarsi (their feet) which work only on contact. Vision is also well developed and most species are sensitive to the ultraviolet light spectrum. Many butterflies are migratory, such as the monarchs
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." By-Richard Bach
The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly, as milkweed is their main food source. Monarchs are probably the best know of all the butterflies in North America. Monarchs are the most iconic of butterflies; they famously migrate from the eastern United States to spend each winter clustered on a few mountaintops in Mexico, where sometimes millions gather. Some do spend the winters along the California coast as well.
Some biologists see a decline in the female Monarch over the last few years, which obviously is a problem for the overall population. Andy Davis of the University of Georgia, Athens, stated the female population has dropped 43%, which indicates a steady decline in the female population. The Mexican forests have been subject to illegal logging, but the government is making progress in stopping this illegal activity as this is a protected area. The biologist also noted that the female population was less in their southward migration which means there are other causes of their demise.
Ernest Williams of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, states they have data showing the decline has occurred over the past ten years. Besides the loss of the monarch’s of the winter habitat, climate change may cause more episodes of sever weather which would hamper the butterflies. Open land for milkweed crops is declining and researchers warn that genetically engineered crops are changing herbicide use which has thinned the amount of milkweed. This could certainly have a major impact on the abundance of the monarch.
Butterfly Life Cycle
How Monarks Reproduce
The chart above depicts the entire life cycle of the butterfly. Monarchs are tougher than they look as the flight from the east coast of the United States to Mexico is a 2,000 mile journey. However, this long migration to and from these fir forests in central Mexico spans the life of three to four generations which means no single butterfly makes the entire journey.
Typically the monarchs live from 2-6 weeks.The females lay one egg at a time but can lay up to 200 a day. They don't lay as many eggs if it a hot, dry summer. It is amazing how these unique creatures know how to reach these mountain tops year after year. The forests of Mexico have the perfect climate as they are not cold enough for the butterfly to freeze but cold enough to keep their systems dormant until spring.
Monarch butterfly caterpillar having lunch- macro
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Monarch Butterfly Emerges
"But these are flowers
that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire."
- Robert Frost
Art with Butterflies
Butterflies have become a popular motif in interior decorating, crafting, tattoos, and other businesses such as jewelry. In interior decorating you often see printed photos or paintings. There are some organizations that use their income from the butterfly art to help work toward the protection of butterflies in the world where we see populations dwindle due to weather or man’s indifference.
It is very common to see butterflies used in the theme for weddings whether on the dresses, hair clips or decorations. Butterfly jewelry has become very popular also. Many people now have butterfly tattoos.
Tori Amos live Sleeps with Butterflies
Butterflies are fascinating creatures and I plant flowers in my yard that will attract them in the summer. I can't think of many things in nature that you also find copied so frequently in the art field from paintings to pictures, jewelry and decorations for your hair or a wedding cake. The Monarch butterfly is particularly beautiful which makes it the most popular butterfly in North America.
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