Beautiful Butterflies

July 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

We all know that rainforests are incredibly biodiverse, yet when picturing one most of us would probably think of the same few animals. Monkeys screeching in the canopy, or a tiger on the prowl below.  Nesting parrots or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, poison frogs and piranha fish.

However, over 90% of animal species found in rainforests are insects. So for this post, I’ve decided to concentrate on what I think is the prettiest of insects, butterflies.

Well, butterflies and moths to be precise. I recently visited Stratford-upon-Avon’s butterfly farm which has some interesting examples of both.

Madagascan Moon Moth (Argema mittrei)
[Madagascan moon moth (Argema mittrei)]

I really liked this Madagascan Moon moth, which is just as brightly coloured as a butterfly, not at all like those that continually fly into light bulbs. It’s also known as the Comet Moth because of its long fiery red tails.

Whilst the farm breeds some butterflies themselves, they also import them from the tropics.  The natural habitat of butterflies must be protected in order to breed sustainably. It’s a labour intensive process which means employment and income for the villages involved.

As well being a tourist attraction the farm supports conservation by doing business responsibly. It certainly was an interesting day out and lovely to see exotic butterflies up close.

Indian Leaf Butterfly
[Indian Leaf  (Kallima paralekta). Striking blue on top contrasted with leaf-like camouflage underneath]
Malachite (Siproeta stelenes)
[Malachite (Siproeta stelenes). Common in Central and South America]

Scarce Bamboo Page (Philaethria dido)
[Scarce Bamboo Page (Philaethria dido). Similiar to a Malachite but with a longer wing shape] 

Cracker/Hamadryas
[Cracker (Hamadryas unknown). Males are known for cracking or clicking their wings to ward off rivals]

Feeding Butterflies, multiple species
[Multiple species feeding on fruit.]

White Morpho (Morpho polyphemus)
[Possibly a White Morpho (Morpho polyphemus) feasting on some pineapple.]

Lime Swallowtail Papilio demoleus
[
Lime Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus) with a rather sorry looking crumpled wing.]

Blue Morpho
[An elusive Blue Morpho who barely stayed still long enough to snap a photo of his iridescence.]

Tiger Longwing (Heliconius hecale)
[Tiger Longwing (Heliconius hecale) found in Peru and throughout South America.]

By Emma Law

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