Silver-studded blue butterfly dancing, video

This video shows a silver-studded blue butterfly, moving in a way which looks like dancing.

MarijkeS from the Netherlands made this video.

Scarce large blue butterflies, Dutch jubilee

This is a scarce large blue butterfly video from the Netherlands.

On 23 July 2015, there will be a celebration in the Moerputten nature reserve near Den Bosch city in Noord-Brabant province in the Netherlands. Then, it will be 25 years ago that scarce large blue butterflies, which had become extinct in the Netherlands, were reintroduced there.

Then, in 1990, 74 butterflies were freed. Meanwhile, there are hundreds. There are plans to introduce them to other nature reserves as well, as a species, limited to one area, is vulnerable to disasters.

In the Moerputten, the caterpillars are dependent, first on great burnet plants. Then, on Myrmica scabrinodis ants, when the caterpillars live as parasites in the anthills. They are also, indirectly, dependent on springtails: these are the main food of the ants.

Butterfly of the Month in Singapore, July 2015

This video is called Moulting of a Pandita sinope caterpillar to the 4th instar.

From the Butterflies of Singapore blog:

Butterfly of the Month – July 2015

The Colonel (Pandita sinope sinope)

We have just edged past the halfway mark of the year 2015. A relatively quiet month so far, compared to the more tumultuous preceding months. The summer heat is upon us as Singapore‘s outdoor ambient temperatures move into the 30’s – and made worse by the high humidity. On my short business trip to Delhi and Ranchi in India at the end of last month, I experienced even higher temperatures, although fortunately, the monsoon rains have just started there.

ButterflyCircle members had an enjoyable weekend at the Festival of Biodiversity 2015 at the end of June. More forthcoming community projects with NParks are on the cards, with the NParks Butterfly Count project in September. A challenging project, considering that it involves the general community and sightings of butterfly species in urban parks have to be recorded and counted. Unlike birds, sighting and identifying butterflies requires a bit more experience and training. It will be a good platform to learn how best to deal with field surveys with beginners. …

Let’s leave the worldly woes for awhile as we introduce our Butterfly of the Month for July 2015 – the Colonel (Pandita sinope sinope). This Nymphalidae is one of many species in the family that has been christened with military names. In my article on this blog some time back, I gave some possible reasons how this came to be.

The Colonel is a mid-sized orange butterfly that may be considered moderately rare. However, it is quite local in distribution and often observed in the vicinity of its caterpillar host plants. Sporting an average wingspan of about 50mm, it is not an unusually large butterfly, and may be confused, when in flight, with several other orange-coloured butterflies.

The Colonel is a bright orange above, with the fore and hindwing bases shaded with brown streaks. The outer half of both the fore and hindwings is a prominent brown post-discal band and three dark submarginal lines. The underside is similarly marked, but lighter, with the basal wing area a greenish-grey.

The butterfly is skittish and active and flies with rapid beats of its wings and glides in a manner that is quite consistent with many related species in the sub-family Limenitidinae. Often it may be encountered at the ripened fruits of the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum), on which it feeds greedily. In the early morning hours, it may be encountered gliding amongst the shrubbery and settling to sunbathe with its wings fully opened.

It is a forest butterfly, and rarely observed in urban parks and gardens. At times, it takes on a territorial behaviour, returning repeatedly to a few favourite perches after flying around to explore its environment. When feeding, it also tends to move its wings often and is very alert. Any threatening movement by an observer will quickly spook it off to the treetops.

The complete life history of the Colonel can be found on this blog article. The host plant on which the species has been successfully bred in Singapore is Uncaria. It has also been bred in Malaysia on another plant – Nauclea subdita also from the Rubiaceae family.

Black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs, video

On this video, a female black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs on the underside of a leaf of a butterfly hothouse in Harskamp, the Netherlands.

This species is almost extinct in the wild in the Netherlands, but occurs still in Belgium.

Eric Wander made this video.

Butterflies in July: here.

Butterflies in history, arts and science

Roman mosaic

This is an ancient Roman mosaic depicting death as a skull and the soul as a butterfly, both balanced on a wheel which symbolises fortune.

From the BBC in Britain:

Do butterflies hold the answer to life’s mysteries?

16 June 2015

Throughout history, butterflies have been seen as symbols of many things – not only transformation and purity, but also death and sin. Today though, scientists study them to see what they can tell us about our changing planet, writes Mary Colwell.

Butterflies seem to distil out of warm summer air. Their fleeting, fragile appearance has inspired poets, authors and musicians through time.

They were “flowers that fly and all but sing” to the American poet Robert Frost, but took on a more tragic hue for Victor Hugo. In his poem, The Genesis of Butterflies, they “Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies / Flutter, and float, and change to butterflies.”

Bitter or sweet, ethereal or sinister, the delicate wings of butterflies have borne the burden of our hopes and fears for centuries.

In his new book, Rainbow Dust: Three Centuries of Delight in British Butterflies, Peter Marren traces the many beliefs that have been held about these creatures. He believes their journey from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to winged beauty has evoked stories that resonate with the mysteries of the soul, life and death.

For some, these transitions are symbols of hope, a sign that the human soul can break from earthly ties, darkness and confinement to fly into the light.

The ancient Greeks were transfixed by this notion, identifying the butterfly with the essence of our being – and Psyche, the goddess of the soul, is often depicted with butterfly wings.

For the ancient Greeks, “The butterfly was telling us about our own lives,” says Peter Marren.

Through time, some butterflies took on different meanings. The bright fire-colours of the red admiral, with its velvet black wings slashed with crimson, inspired images of an inferno.

“This became the butterfly from hell,” says Marren. The imagery was used by 17th century Dutch artist Jan van Huysum – in one of his paintings a white butterfly, a sign of hope, feeds on a vase of full flowers – but sitting on a sickly bloom in the shadows is a red admiral.

Jan van Huysum painting with butterflies

Death and sin are ever present – a painted lady can be seen in Durer’s Madonna with the Iris, where it symbolises the crucifixion. The white butterflies on the other hand represent purity and hope.

Less colourful, even dowdy, butterflies are also used in art to reflect our fears. In Hieronymus Bosch‘s Garden of Earthly Delights, butterflies, or at least devils with the wings of meadow browns and small tortoiseshells, are part of the throngs of hell, involved in all kinds of unpleasantness towards people. These are far from fluttering beauties from an ethereal realm.

This video says about itself:

The Garden of Earthly Delights (Part 1)

Late Gothic (Ars Nova) composition by Hieronymus Bosch – Overview of the triptych and the exterior (outside panels).

And these two videos are the sequels.

Here comes another series, of four videos explaining the painting, by Adam McLean.

High resolution version of the painting: here.

The BBC article continues:

Eyespots on a butterfly’s wings were not always seen as a deterrent designed to scare off hungry predators, but a means of watching our behaviour from the hedgerow. Butterflies became moral spies, sent by God, to a world where it is all too easy to slip up. They watched us, not the other way round.

But today we are watching them – intensely, as modern portents of doom, already affected by climate change.

In the UK, some butterflies have had to find new habitats. The comma, for example, has moved 137 miles northwards from central England to Edinburgh in two decades. Over the same period the mountain ringlet has moved 490ft higher, becoming extinct at lower altitudes.

The brown argus has widened the area in which it lives and can now be found not only in most of southern and eastern England but as far north as Yorkshire too. The speckled wood has been spreading northwards since 1940.

We look to the sensitive butterfly for visible effects of a warming world – what we find is a world in flux and our interest in what butterflies are telling us increases.

In the Americas there has been a precipitous decline in the population of the monarch butterfly. This beauty, often described as shards of stained glass falling through sunlight, can be found along a 2,500-mile (4,000km) migration route between Canada and Mexico.

In 2004 an estimated 550 million arrived at their usual wintering ground. But 10 years later, in 2014 there were just 50 million – a decline of about 90%.

Today, butterflies’ flutterings make us sit up and take notice of what is happening around us – they are both harbingers and victims of climate change and we are studying them for what they can tell us about the future prospects of life on earth.

Millions of painted ladies expected in Britain

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Transformation of a Painted Lady Butterfly – The Butterly Life Cycle

29 July 2013

Watch the amazing transformation of caterpillar larvae to butterfly, as captured and documented by Scot Brinkley in affiliation with the EmilyAnn Theatre & Garden’s Butterfly Day – 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Large number of Painted Lady expected in UK

The UK is braced for a once in a decade occasion as an influx of Painted Ladies are expected to arrive in the UK at any moment after unusually high numbers of the orange and black butterflies have been amassing in southern Europe.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles. But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland. Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.

Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently. Butterfly Conservation reported that some butterflies arrived during mid-May, but a spell of poor weather temporarily halted the immigration.

Recent warm sunny conditions have seen Painted Lady numbers soar once again with reports of large numbers of the butterflies seen at south coast sites – suggesting a large scale immigration may once again be about to take place.

Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public to record sightings of the butterfly to help chart the progress of any potential immigration during the summer.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording explained: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour these small fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”

The Painted Lady undertakes a phenomenal 9,000 mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle each year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

Research using citizen science sightings from the 2009 migration revealed that the whole journey is not undertaken by individual butterflies but in a series of steps by up to six successive generations.

Radar studies revealed that after successfully breeding in the UK in 2009 more than 26 million Painted Ladies returned south in the autumn, many flying high in the sky out of the sight of human observers.

Painted Lady sightings can be recorded via Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch scheme.

This video from England is called Painted Lady butterflies filmed at Butterfly Conservation’s Head Office in Lulworth, Dorset.