Looking at this photograph I started to wonder – What is the difference between a butterfly and a moth? Simple, right? Not so much. For every rule, there are always exceptions and this is no different. However, here are some of the (exceptions aside) differences between moths and butterflies.
Butterflies are generally a day creature (diurnal) while moths prefer the night (nocturnal). Due to this distinction, moths are usually colored grey, black and brown, while butterflies generally show off brilliantly colored wings. Butterflies have slender bodies and long, thin antennae with a club-shaped end, while moths are stout and furry and have feather-like antennae. Butterflies rest with their wings up (like the butterfly in this image), whereas moths rest with wings down. During metamorphosis, moths make a silk cocoon, whereas butterflies make a smooth and hard chrysalis.
Although these are the general rules, this particular butterfly is not so brightly colored, and for the most part sat with wings down against this tree (see image below). I think these traits ensure successful camouflage with the bark of this tree, and therefore a greater likelihood this butterfly evades predation. This reminded me of the classic evolutionary tale of the peppered moths (for more info follow this link).
Ok, so this photo is not so much about a flower as it about the stunning black butterfly perched delicately on these tiny pink flowers. Those large dark wings with golden circles and a powdering of shimmery blue. The signature elongated wing tips of a swallowtale and delicate lines of white dots along the abdomen. This butterfly truly turns heads as it flutters past and really tested my patience as I waited for it to sit still long enough for a photo that was in focus. I will dearly miss the warmer months this year as the weather is already getting too cold for my liking, and we still have so much further to go into the cold abyss of winter. Have a warm weekend everyone!
Ironweed is a species of plant within the larger genus of Veronia. They have very distinct and intense purple flowers, which are a fantastic pairing of colors for this stunning orange monarch butterfly. I was very lucky that this gem sat still long enough to get a photo of it’s wonderful spots. When summer ended I made sure to take my camera to the local flower gardens to catch the last of the butterflies before they depart during the colder months. Ironweed is a great addition to your garden to make sure that the butterflies come to visit. For other posts on butterflies please click here.
New England Aster is North American native plant, and is a great way of adding some bright color to your Autumn garden. Another fantastic perk is that these flowers are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies, which can keep macro photographers busy for hours, and I also discovered that some butterflies have baby blue colored eyes. Not only are these flowers edible for insects, they are also a great way to add some color to your salads. This plant (mostly extract from the roots) has been used by many cultures (including Native Americans and Chinese) as a herbal remedy for fever, inflammation, and gut-related irritations. Planting some New England Aster is not only great for your garden, but can become so much more than just a pretty flower.
No science today, no facts, and no biology, just an adorable little butterfly on a plump dahlia bud. Why? Because todays post is dedicated to a very dear friend of mine. This post marks a moment in time when our friendship became greater than science. We will always find science in our lives because that is what we are trained to do, and biology will continue to exist around us. Friendships however, can sneak up on us gradually without any realization that it is happening, and will truly blossom when we face moments of hardship together. Together we will survive Winter and Spring will always follow.
A peaceful Friday photograph of lavender with a white cabbage butterfly. I use the word peaceful because lavender oil possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects, and thus, has long been used as a calming agent and to promote sleep. However, Friday is my busiest work day, and I have no time to rest. Instead, I will tell you that this white cabbage butterfly is an agricultural pest in North America and Australia because the caterpillars love to eat crops. We should still have some sympathy for them though, because certain species of wasp will lay their eggs inside the caterpillar and the wasp larvae then eat it from the inside out, ultimately killing the caterpillar. What a horrible way to die! Happy weekend everyone, I hope I didn’t give you nightmares.
This past weekend was a bit of a cold and ugly one in New York, so I didn’t get outside much. I was wishing for better spring weather, but it seems like winter is trying its best not to let go too soon. So instead I painted my own spring, just a fun, light and colorful piece to brighten up my weekend. I hope it brightens up your week too!