Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Dismorphia (Family Pieridae, Yellows and Whites)

In the dark jungles of Central America and South America all kinds of animals and birds and insects hunt butterflies. Life for a butterfly in these places is one continual flight from danger. Some butterflies escape by their swift flight, others by camouflaging themselves to look like bark or leaves. Still others carry a poisonous substance within them that make most other creatures leave them alone in disgust. But perhaps the most interesting way of all is when one butterfly mimics or copies the appearance of a poisonous butterfly so it too will be left alone.

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Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Greater Arctic / Oeneis Gigas (Family Satyridae, The Wood Nymphs)

A wingspread of nearly three inches makes this butterfly one of the largest of the Arctics, so called because they are most often found in the far north or on mountain tops. In the forests of British Columbia, and southward through the mountains to California, the Greater Arctic secretively hides upon the decaying bark and dark mosses of fallen trees. But the males seem to be possessed by a great curiosity, for every so often they dart out to investigate some passing insect or lizard or even a man. The more placid females usually stay in hiding, but when they do fly their flight is so slow and stately that they are easily netted by the collector. Whether the vigilant and active males are actually trying to protect the females is not definitely known, but they sometimes act as though they were trying to either drive away or even lure away an intruder.

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Nature: Butterflies and Moths

The Painted Lady/ Vanessa Cardui 小红蛱蝶 (Family Nymphalidae, the Brush-footed Butterflies)

The Monarch may be the king among butterflies, but the Painted Lady is undoubtedly the queen, for she ranges where even the Monarch does not go, in the hearts of Africa and South America. The Painted Lady can be quickly told from the similar Virginia Lady (Vanessa Virginiensis) by more numerous eye-spots on the under sides of the hind wings; while she will not be confused with the West Coast Lady (Vanessa Carye) if one notices that the Painted Lady has rounded tips to the fore-wings, while the West Coast Lady’s are square.

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Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Wandering Comma / Polygona Comma (Family Nymphalidae, Brush-footed Butterflies)

What a fooling you may be in for when you try to capture a Comma! Bang! You sweep your net through the air, expecting to capture the butterfly, and instead you are left foolishly staring into your net, while the insect has completely disappeared. Watch carefully for awhile and you will see why this has happened. The Comma, like other Angle-wings, is equipped with a very efficient disappearing act. Besides being a good dodger of nets and bird beaks, it has colors on the undersides of the wings that make it look exactly like the brown bark of certain trees when it folds its wings. By lighting suddenly on one of these trees it quite literally disappears. Only a very sharp eye can see it resting there, the dark underwings merging in perfect camouflage with the dark bark.

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Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Orange-Tip 橙尖粉蝶 Anthocaris Sara (Family Pieridae, Whites and Sulpurs)

The meadows are lushly green; dew sparkles on the leaflets; the air is pleasantly warm and delightful; then, almost magically it seems, the carpets of new-born buttercups by the creeks come alive with the bright flashing of Orange-Tip wings. It is the spring brood of the Orange-Tip come with the first wave of real warmth to gladden the land with new beauty. The sharply-marked orange and black of the upper corners of the fore-wings, contrasting to abruptly with the white of the rest of the wings instantly mark this butterfly from all others save the rare Felder’s Orange-Tip, (A. ce-thura), which, however has much less black. Note also the soft leaf-like appearance of the under-wing markings. A rare from has the wings suffused with yellow. In the east the Falcate Orange Tip (Anthocaris genutia) with a hooked wing tip, is found in woods.

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