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Butterfly Day June 19th
A Gift from Nature
June 19th is Butterfly Day, a fact that I learned when I went to an online greeting card site to send a birthday card to a colleague and discovered cards for Butterfly Day.
I did a few quick Google searches to learn more about this holiday but, while I got a fair amount of hits, most of them were for greeting cards or notices of events at zoos, museums and schools butterflies on their day.
Unlike official national, state or local holidays, which are created by legislative bodies or by proclamations issued by the President, a governor or a mayor, Butterfly Day seems to be a day butterfly lovers have chosen to show their appreciation for these beautiful insects.
Monarch Butterfly on a Flower
Butterfly Day Appears to be a New Holiday
I suspect the holiday is fairly recent and probably started either locally or within a national or international organization of museums, schools, scientists or other group with an interest in butterflies.
All my quick searches revealed was that June 19th is the date all seem to celebrate it and the day itself is celebrated by museums and schools in the U.S. and other nations.
With modern communication, especially the Internet, it is not difficult to get something like this going among enthusiasts around the world. With eCards easy to design and make available we can expect that enthusiasts would design and offer these cards as part of their celebration.
Unlike Pi Day, the celebration and appreciation of which tends to be limited to high school and college math geeks, butterflies are enjoyed and appreciated by all which is probably why major online card companies have jumped in with cards for this day.
Butterflies do perform a useful service in that they help to pollinate plants as they fly from flower to flower sipping the nectar for food. Other less glamorous insects also perform this function and often do it more efficiently.
So, the real contribution of butterflies on our planet is to add to the natural beauty of the world around us and helping to add to the joy of living. Thus, it is appropriate to set aside a day to celebrate and appreciate them.
In honor of the day here are some pictures I took in the butterfly house at the Tucson Botanical Gardens earlier this year.
The Sad Fate of the Atlas Moth
The Atlas Moth, shown at the right, is native to Asia and is a member of the Saturniidae or silkworm moth family. It is a very large moth and, while it does not have the largest wingspan (some other butterfly or moth holds that title) it does have the largest wings in terms of area.
Butterflies and moths are the adult version of these insects having spent their youth as caterpillars or silk worms in the case of the Atlas Moth. But adulthood for the Atlas moth is short. So short that it has no need to eat and hence no mouth. The life span of an adult Atlas moth is from one to five days and the sole purpose of its adult life is to reproduce.
The Atlas moth at the right is a male (the female Atlas moths are even larger in size) and, the day we visited it was the only Atlas moth to hatch. The few others the Botanical Gardens had in their collection still had a while to go in their cocoons.
While we were there this fellow seemed to be taking it easy and viewing the world around him. We were told by the docent that, when night came, he would begin flying around in vain seeking a female with whom to fufill his life's mission.
Alas, he was doomed to fail and the docent expected to find him dying, brokenhearted, on the floor when they opened the next morning.
Such is life, when you are an Atlas moth.
Butterflies at Dinner
Exotic Blue Morpho Butterfly
Butterfly Resting on a Plant Stem
Monarch Butterfly Enjoying Sweet Nectar from a Flower
Orange Butterfly Enjoying Nectar from a Red Flower
© 2008 Chuck Nugent