insects

80, 89…

Why nature decided to make butterflies so colourful defeats me. I can understand the role colours may play in predator protection, easy recognition among conspecific individuals, reproductive behaviour and all sorts of other properties that colours may have but, still, why being so outrageous with butterflies?

So, you would think that Nature would have been content with allocating them the whole colour spectrum? Not so, some of them have also been numbered! These are some of the members of the Diaethria genus and I do not think that this was done to help the taxonomists!

You know from earlier posts that the Yungas region where our farm is located host a great many colourful butterfly and moth species and to take a walk on a sunny summer day is a true challenge to your eyes!

I have probably photographed over one hundred butterflies (and perhaps double that number of moths) and I had covered the butterflies issue earlier in this blog [1]. Despite having seen most of the available butterflies, I am still surprised at what I find!

One of the posts deals with one of the numbered butterflies: the 80 (or 08) , depending how you look at it. It is known as Diaethria candrena.

P1130769 copyP1130829 copyP1130858 copyVery recently we briefly saw a new and strikingly iridescent butterfly flying very fast and we soon lost it. Luckily the following day we found it again and, with lots of patience, I managed to take a few reasonable pictures of it. To my surprise it also carried a number: 89 (or 98) and I believe it to be Diaethria neglecta, also known as the 89 butterfly!

89 butterfly copy89 butterfly 2 copyP1190177 copyI then learnt that the numerals which appear on the underside hindwings of these butterflies are present in the twelve species of Diaethria but vary in colour and shapes, some of them do not show recognizable numbers.

There is also the 88 butterfly that would complete the numbered ones: Diathria clymena. I have not yet found it although I believe that it is also in the area. To find the third butterfly numbered by Nature adds another motive to continue with my daily walks.

 

[1] https://bushsnobinafrica.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/flying-gems/ and https://bushsnobinafrica.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/80-zig-zag/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spot the beast 25

When my computer crashed earlier this year I was fully aware that this would be a set back that would affect my internet activity. However, I knew that I had a back-up in Zimbabwe, albeit a few thousand miles away! Nevertheless I knew that I had no duplicates of the pictures taken during the first part of the year while in Carmelo and Salta.

Luckily the contents of my hard disk was rescued as I mentioned to you earlier. Unluckily all pictures were placed in one file called “Images” by the file recovery programme used. After searching a few days I found one of the recent pictures and that gave me hope and the needed patience to keep searching. Eventually, thousands of files later, I found most of them, including the ones included in this post that, in my opinion, are worth the time I spent finding them…

So, without further ado, here is a new beast for you to spot (if you can!!!). I warn you that it is tricky if it does not move (as in the bottom pictures.

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Are you ready for the surprise?

 

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Its secret revealed, I rate this moth as one of the most striking I have seen so far!

Camouflage

As I mentioned earlier butterflies and moths are a prominent feature at our farm in Salta. As we are going through a long wet spell, I have taken the time to take pictures of some of the examples of camouflage that I have observed.

Rather than extending this over a few posts as I had done in the past, I decided to collect a few pictures for you to see five real finds that illustrate how Nature designed some of its creations to aid them in their survival. Have a look!

slick moth on leaves cropped

Grasshopper from far

Moth on bark cropped and small

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Moth on Paradise leaves

Several moths and butterflies come to our verandah light at night and I am taking pictures of them for a possible checklist. A number of them mimic leaves or tree bark. I then hatched the idea of collecting dry leaves from the garden and release a number of live moths on them hoping that they would stay on the leaves. Well, I can assure you that it was not easy!

However, after a few trials and frustrations I managed to get one shot for you to “admire” and spot the moths. To help you finding them I can tell you that there are more than one but less than fifteen![1]

Moths on leaves

I will reveal all creatures in the next post, hopefully this Saturday…

[1] I am learning to insert arrows to point them out.