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Butterflies - Up Close and Beautiful
Butterflies Up Close
If like me you love butterflies and enjoy watching them visiting your garden, but would love to see different and more exotic species of butterfly, I would recommend a visit to a butterfly farm.
I was welcomed by a very helpful and friendly member of staff who explained the butterfly’s life cycle which comprises of 4 stages during which they undergo complete metamorphosis.
1. Egg - a butterfly begins life as an egg which are laid on the leaves of plants.
2. Larva - the larva (caterpillar) hatches from the egg and eats leaves or flowers. It loses it’s skin constantly as it grows.
3. It turns into a pupa (chrysalis) this is a resting stage.
4. A beautiful adult butterfly emerges.
He guided me to a plant and pointed out a caterpillar and pupa, I was amazed how camouflaged they were and could have easily missed them. I was given 4 information sheets and also a magnifying glass, my excitement increased even more!
I gasped in sheer delight, as I stood in complete fascination and wonder watching the butterflies seemingly dance in flight. Within seconds a butterfly landed on my arm and then just as quickly soared into the air again.
With my information sheet I was able to identify the different species of butterflies, I had never seen any of them before. What a joy it was to photograph them up close, here are just a few butterfly photos to share with you.
Idea leuconoe - Tree Nymph
Habitat - South East Asian mangrove swamp
These are large butterflies, their wingspan is 95 to 110 cm across.
This butterfly is also known as the 'Paper kite' or 'Rice paper'.
They are very slow in flight with warning colours, which is advertising the fact it’s very poisonous to eat.
It’s caterpillar stores Pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisons from their host plant. Any predator that nibbles one of these will become extremely ill.
Great Oto - Glasswing
Habitat - Central America
The Glasswing is appropriately named for it’s translucent wings.
The females will only lay one egg per plant. The adult butterfly will search far and wide for mates and also for poisonous host plants that their caterpillars eat, the longest journey recorded being over 40 kilometers in 24 hours.
Because of it’s translucent wings this butterfly is virtually invisible in the dim light of forests.
Siproeta Stelenes - The Malachite
Habitat - Central America
This butterfly is named after the mineral of the same colour. It has fast powerful flight and a wingspan of just 10 cm.
It actually prefers to eat rotten fruit, rotting animal juices and bat dung to nectar.
Their caterpillars are horned, spiny and black with red markings.
Caligo memnon - The Owl
Habitat - Mexico to South America
The butterfly’s size and powerful appearance in flight puts off most predators, it has a wing span of upto 15 cm.
A butterfly that feeds off rotten fruit, it is camouflaged at rest.
The ‘eye spot’ may scare predators but is probably an artifact of camouflage colouration processes during wing growth.
Prepona demophon - Banded King Shoemaker
Habitat South America
This butterfly feeds on rotten fruit (and even carrion) in this photo it is tucking into some tasty rotten banana!
The Banded King Shoemaker relies on camouflage when it's at rest, flash colouring when it's disturbed, and it's high speed and great agility when in flight. It also clicks it’s wings when disturbed, a scary noise for predators.