Monday, July 28, 2008

Small butterflies


These butterflies are so small (less than an inch long), they might go by unnoticed by the casual walker. I'm not sure what they've found so interesting on the ground, but that's where they were having their party. We can be sure that it's food. Click on the images for enlargements.

6 comments:

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Well, I think I'm all caught up now. You do have some beautiful butterflies there.

Ted C. MacRae said...

This is probably a "puddle club." Butterflies need more nitrogen and salt than their diet as caterpillars provides. Drying puddles can can provide some of these nutrients, but urine soaks - a veritable bonanza of nitrogenous wastes, amino acids, salts, and exreted sugars - are a "one stop shop." Males also pack these acquired nutrients along with their sperm into "nuptial gifts" for females so the latter can concentrate on producing eggs without wasting energy searching for such compounds. As a result, butterflies seen at puddle clubs tend to be mostly male.

Ted C. MacRae said...

By the way, those are "skippers" - a group that is intermediate between moths and true butterflies. They can be distinguished by their hooked antennae, stocky bodies, and relatively small wings. Larvae resemble moths by spinning slight cocoons in which to pupate rather than forming a true chrysalis.

Steven Alexander said...

> Ted, bless your soul for this information. Nothing less than gold! As I edited the pictures, I kept telling myself that there are resemblances to moths, but .... On the matter of cocoons, now I got what you said earlier about those big heavy caterpillars in the palm leaves. I'll get back to that. Thanks for sharing this information with me.

GingerV said...

I started to ask the question of Moth vs. Butterfly and by the time I had read all the prior comments ended up knowing the answer - this is why I love your blog.

Steven Alexander said...

> Ginger, yes indeed, those comments help us learn something about what we've photographed. How was your trip to Italy?