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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