Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Snout Butterfly 吻蝶 (Libytheidae, Snout Butterflies)

One day you may see a butterfly land on a leaf or flower near you that has what looks like a long nose sticking away out in front of its face. This is the Snout Butterfly and no other is like it. But forget about the nose, because what looks like a nose is really part of the mouth, the part called the palpi, which are used by an insect to feel food. Somehow the Snout Butterfly uses these very long palpi to detect food it wants to eat. “Maybe,” you would say, “it uses the palpi to help it suck up the food.” This is not likely, as every butterfly has a very long tongue, usually kept curled within the month, which it uncurls to put down in a flower and suck up nectar just as you would suck up soda with a straw.

Your most likely glimpse of a Snout Butterfly is to see something brown suddenly flashing by, flying very rapidly and erratically. Many a beginning collector has become very red in the face trying to catch one of these swift creatures. But the experienced collector has learned that the Snout Butterfly loves the muddy margins of ponds and streams or wet spots in dirt roads, and here he sneaks up quietly and snares his prize.

The little green, hump-backed caterpillar has two black tubercles ringed with yellow on its “hump” and three yellow stripes down the dark velvety-green body. It lives on hackberry and wolfberry bushes. The green chrysalid also has a peculiar hump-shape and is marked by pale yellow lines.

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