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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Common Blue Butterfly

Blue Morpho Butterfly, Costa Rica

A Blue Morpho butterfly rests on a leaf at a Butterfly Garden in Guacima de Alajuela, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of San Jose May 12, 2005. More than 30,000 cocoons of butterflies of 30 different species are exported every month from Costa Rica by U.S. citizen Joris Brinkerhoff who specializes in the breeding and exporting butterflies to Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada and the U.S.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Peleides Blue Morpho (Morpho Peleides)

The Peleides Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) is an iridescent tropical butterfly found in Mexico, Central America, northern South America,Paraguay and Trinidad. The Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho Peleides) drinks the juices from rotting fruits for food.

Blue Morpho butterflies live in the rainforests of South America, and can be found in Mexico and Central America. The wingspan of the Blue Morpho butterfly ranges from 7.5 cm to 20 cm. The entire Blue Morpho Butterfly lifecycle, from egg to adult is only 115 days. The larvae of Blue Morpho Butterflies are cannibals. The caterpillar blue morpho butterfly is red-brown with patches of bright green.

The brilliant blue colour in the butterfly's wings is caused by the diffraction of the light from millions of tiny scales on its wings. It uses this to frighten away predators, by flashing its wings rapidly. The Blue Morpho Butterflies stick together in groups to deter their predators. A form of Mobbing behavior. There are over 80 different species of the Morpho butterfly.

Lesser Grass Blue Butterfly

The Lesser Grass Blue, Zizina otis, is a species of blue butterfly found in south Asia.

Male upperside: pale violet-blue, with a silvery sheen in certain lights, jfore wing: a broad brown edging along the termen, which covere in some specimens quite the outer fourth of the mug, while in others is much narrower. In all specimens it is broadest at apex and is bounded by an anticiliary darker line, beyond which the cilia are brownish at base and white outwardly. Hind wing: anterior or costal third to half and apex brown; a slender black anticiliary line, bevond which the cilia are as in the fore wing. Underside: brownish grey. Fore wing: a short, transverse, dusky lunule on the discocellulars and a transverse, anteriorly curved, discal series of seven minute black spots, all the spots more or less rounded, the posterior two geminate, the discocellular lunule and each discal spot conspicuously encircled with white; the terminal markings beyond the above consist of an inner and an outer transverse subterminal series of dusky spots, each spot edged on the inner side very obscurely with dusky white, the inner line of spots lunular, the outer with the spots more or less rounded. Cilia dusky. Hind wing : a transverse, curved, subbasal series of four spots and an irregular transverse discal series of nine small spots black, each spot encircled narrowly witli white. Of the discal spots the posterior four are placed in an outwardly oblique, slightly curved line, the middle two spots geminate; the three spots above these are placed in an oblique transverse line further outwards ; lastly, the anterior two spots are posited one over the other and shifted well inwards, just above the apex of the cell; discocellular lunule and terminal markings as on the fore wing, but the inner subterminal lunular line in the latter broader and more prominent. Cilia dusky. Antenna black, shafts ringed with white; head, thorax and abdomen brown, with a little blue scaling; beneath: white.

Female. Upperside: brown, with a more or less distinct suffusion of violet-blue at the bases of the wings, on the hind wing continued obscurely along the dorsum; both foreand hind wings with slender anticiliary lines, darker than the ground-colour. Underside: ground-colour slightly darker than in the male, markings precisely similar. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen as in the male, but the thorax and abdomen above without any blue scaling.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rare Blue Butterfly

Adonis Blue

The Adonis Blue is mostly found in southern England. One of Britain's rarest butterflies has returned to a spot where it has not been seen for more than 40 years. The Adonis Blue, classified as a priority species, is usually only found at a few places in southern England.

But it has returned in numbers to a former site in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, after a National Trust campaign to restore its habitat. The insect's numbers were decimated 50 years ago when a lot of its natural habitat, chalk grassland, was lost.

The Adonis Blue likes to live in habitats with short grass, and it is unusual for the butterflies to fly far from their home base. When the rabbit-killing disease Myxomatosis broke out in the 1950s, the lack of rabbits meant grass grew too long and the Adonis Blue's former habitats became unsuitable.

But now large numbers of the species have moved back to its former home around Rodborough and Minchinhampton Common, as trust officers have brought in cattle to keep the grass down. Matthew Oakes, butterfly expert and adviser for the National Trust said: "Never underestimate a butterfly.

"We think that the Adonis Blue may be benefiting from milder winters and hotter summers and that it should produce a bumper brood this August and September. "It is one of our loveliest butterflies and we are delighted to have it back in the Cotswolds."

Hybrid Blue Butterfly Species - Alpine Lycaeides

Bacteria Make Female Butterflies Promiscuous, Scientists Say

A germ that kills males triggers a vicious cycle of increasing female promiscuity and male sexual exhaustion in a species of butterfly, scientists report.

Male-killing bacteria known as Wolbachia are extremely widespread in insects, found in more than one-fifth of species. The germs can turn males to females and cause infected females to reproduce without males.
Scientists had assumed these bacteria would profoundly alter the natural mating patterns of their hosts, but only had scant evidence of what these changes would entail in the wild.

Evolutionary biologist Sylvain Charlat at University College London and his colleagues investigated the common eggfly Hypolimnas bolina. This butterfly is found in locations ranging from Madagascar to Asia, and from Australia and to Easter Island.

The bacteria infects Pacific Island and Southeast Asian populations of the butterfly [image], getting transmitted from mother to son and killing males before eggs hatch. Each island's butterflies are affected by Wolbachia differently, leading to different ratios of males to females. The male population can range as low as one male to every 100 females in some areas.

Over the course of three years, the scientists inspected the butterflies’ sex ratio in 20 different locales, including Vietnam, Australia and 18 different islands, including Borneo, New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tahiti. They also investigated female mating frequency and the size of the male sperm package.

Some research sites were easily reachable by airplane, but the scientists relied on private sailboats to get to the more remote spots. While butterflies were common at some locations, they were rare at others, requiring days and days of hiking to find spots for collection. "People were generally very curious about what I was doing, and amused when they knew it was all about sex in butterflies,” Charlat said

The researchers expected that the fewer male butterflies there were, the less sex females likely would have with males. Surprisingly, female promiscuity actually rose.

"Greater numbers of female partners leads to fatigue in males. They start producing smaller sperm packages," Charlat said. "Unfortunately, the female butterflies instinctively know that the packages are smaller and that their chances of having been sufficiently impregnated after mating are lower than usual. This just makes them more rampant."

The actual mechanism behind how the females detect sperm package size remains a mystery so far.

The fact that the Wolbachia bacteria are widespread in insects could mean, Charlat speculated, that this phenomenon might also be widespread in insects in nature.

Butterflies Collection