Monday, August 22, 2011

Let's go back to butterflies

Butterfly larvae are host specific, i read! There are host plants and there are nectar plants. But i learned producing butterflies the hardest way! I wonder if the old scientists share my experience. Of course, during those times there were hardly any references, so they just started on their own to produce the references. I am wondering, did they also chase them? I did, with some regrets because books now are already available, and web-based references are so easy to locate. In my case, i also have friends who are authorities on butterflies. But time and again I still do chase those butterflies in our property in the province. You might think I am doing that to take photos, but actually not. I am chasing them to know which plants they lay their eggs on. That way, when the time comes for me to make my own butterfly garden, I know which plants I will be producing for a successful butterfly farm. Many times I encounter double problems, e.g. I don't know the butterfly as well as the food plants. And I tell you, most of the time I don't know both of them. That is the time when I resort to the internet and to friends, or to visit established butterfly farms.

Maybe I really learned the hardest way, but I console myself with the thought that scientists long ago, before they were to become entomologists also chased their butterflies. And I have been very happy my own way! Unfortunately, till now I still don't know most of them, haven't started my dream, and I still am scared to touch caterpillars!
Papilio alphenor, male

Papilio rumanzovia

Graphium agamemnon

Above and below: Parthenos sylvia

Cethosia biblis, top side

Cethosia biblis, underside
Idea leuconoe, at the back is Cethosia biblis

Troides rhadamantus

Tagiades japetus
Papilio demoleus 

Ideopsis juventa 'manillana'
a hairstreak butterfly, Hypolycaena sipylus

Idea leuconoe

Papilio demoleus

Clockwise:  Ideopsis juventa (4), Euploea mulciber, Parantica vitrina, Catopsilia pomona, Euploea mulciber (6), Papilio demoleus, Appias olferna (left center), Eurema hecabe (left bottom), Papilio alphenor -female, Junonia hedonia.

Scientific names provided by Dr. Peter B. Hardy


  1. I love the beautiful butterflies in your post. I used to be scared of touching butterflies for fear of getting blind from the 'poison powder' from their wings, as told by my grandma. Now that I know and understand more about them, I begin to appreciated God's creation even more. I am still learning to like caterpillars though ;>)

  2. Jakbym miała wybrać najładniejszego, to bym miała z tym problemy. Wszystkie są piękne, nawet ten malutki. Powodzenia i pozdrawiam słonecznie

  3. Hey, my kiasu friend. Butterflies? I have 2 butterfly posts today, you know.

    Did you take those butterfly photos? They are beautiful. I don't touch butterflies NOT because I am afraid of them but because I don't want to damage their wings. I have a few photos of my daughter holding butterflies. She enjoys it.

  4. Wow! So many gorgeous butterfly species. The butterflies that I usually see here are so dull and boring. Though I love butterflies, I fear and hate caterpillars.

  5. Andrea, I think you are becoming quite an authority on butterflies. Fabulous pictures.

  6. Chasing butterflies sounds kind of fun. You have such a variety of pretty ones, too! I have never seen a lot of those. There have been a few monarch butterflies in my garden. Lovely post!!

  7. So the "poison powder that makes you go blind" is not just a local legend! Like Autumn Belle, I too was cautioned by my grandmother not to touch or pick up butterflies and moths because I could go blind if the powder from their wings gets into my eyes.

    Somewhere in Sta. Cruz (I don't remember the exact location) there are several stores that sell dried butterflies, some are already mounted and ready for display. Some of them have labels too so no need to guess the names.

  8. wonderful captures. you did well on these butterfly images.

  9. Wow!!! You are so lucky to have to many kinds of butterflies around your garden. Learning to butterfly garden takes time....I'm like you....getting better:)

  10. Those butterflies are so beautiful! I have never thought to chase them as scientists used to do, but what a fun way to learn!

  11. I never get tired of looking at butterflies. Their delicate beauty is intoxicating. If I need to touch the larvae, I usually don gloves. Some of them emit an odor when touched. Thanks for sharing your butterflies.

  12. Andrea,

    The Cethosia biblis is one of my favorite butterflies I have seen in our butterfly house here in the US. You have a lot of nice ones! Hope you learn to handle the cats someday.

  13. Hi Andrea, Don't think I have ever seen that many gorgeous butterflies in one post before. Thanks so much!!!! WOW!

  14. All so pretty! I miss butterflies today. It has been raining whole morning. It's wonderful to them here :-D

  15. Autumn Belle - we also have that saying by the older generation, as SR said. However, i am more scared of the larvae than the adults. Last week i tried touching a larva to let it open its "eyes" so i can take the photo, however, they immediately closed before i can focus. LOL.

    Giga - thanks for coming over, but i can't translate what you said. Later i will do that.

    One - Yes i went to yours already, if this is a kiasu post you bit me in making beautiful collages. I still dont know how to make wide collages like that! I dont touch alive butterflies either because they dont alight on me.

    Aaron - when you concentrate on watching them you will see the more colorful ones. We have a lot more brightly colored ones but they dont allow me to take their photos.

    Alistair - hahaha, I am very far from being an authority on butterflies, just a little knowledge than before i started chasing them.

    Amy - yes it is more exciting IDing their hosts the way i did, especially with the itches i got on my legs because of the weeds and hairy plants.

  16. Solitude Rising - we share many folklores, legends, sayings with our ASEAN neighbors, just like dialects. However, i haven't read or seen anyone getting blind from the scales of butterflies, it is time for me to ask my entomologist friends if that is true, thanks for reminding me. Yes there are many butterfly farms here selling mounted, dried butterflies. And there are even those from China already mounted there, but the butterflies are not here in the country. I dont like farms doing things like that. I prefer those which sell pupa to wedding ceremonies because they release the adults into the air and they can go multiply again.

    Photo Cache - thanks for the appreciation of the photos.

    Chris - haha, so at last we are learning, although i can still not put larvae in my palm. I will shriek and run.

    HolleyGarden - it is more exiting to learn the host plants the way i did, sacrificing the itchy legs and sometimes painful scratches from hairy or thorny plants in my path.

    Sage Butterfly - i tried touching one larva last weekend to make it show its "eyes", however they close before i can click. To alleviate my scare i only touch it with my nail, haha! Onother young larva, i tried touching with a dried leaf so it will expose its osmeterium.

    Randy - yes the Cethosia is a very colorful genus. But they are also seldom in my property, maybe because we lack its host plant.

  17. You have some gorgeous butterflies in your area! Nothing is more delightful than seeing butterflies flitting from flower to flower. It's hard to get good photos! I don't like to to touch caterpillars, either, but only because I'm afraid I will hurt their soft bodies.

  18. Andrea, good morning. This post is AWESOME! It's like an elaborate dinner: it takes hours to lovingly prepare and is then gobbled up in a matter of minutes. I can think of a lot worse things to chase besides butterflies. All these amazing butterflies just around your home in the province? And I learned so much. I didn't know a butterfly picks a particular plant to lay its eggs on. I didn't know the underside could be more beautiful than the top side... that cethosia biblis is a marvel!

    [Ugh, now you've added one more place on my way too long list of places I want to see: Solo for its colorful doorways and windows... and your garden with the butterflies... LOL!]

  19. Wow, what amazing butterflies you have there! I am so jealous. On my arbor I have morning glory vines growing, but they have not yet bloomed this summer. Very strange. They are not considered invasive here like in so many southern parts of the US.

  20. Hi got some amazing photos! I'm not familiar with all of them. The Common Jay and the Mormons visit my garden but for the Birdwing , that's mostly seen in the nurseries in the outskirts of our city.

    Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be checking out your older posts as well:-)

  21. Betsy - maybe you missed my older posts where i also posted many of them and different kinds. Thanks always for your coming over!

    Stephanie - don't worry, when the rains stop they will immediately show up from their hiding places under the leaves! Enjoy.

    Deb - i dont want to touch larvae because they have unusual texture, and it looks like they will burst, haha, especially if they are almost at the pupation stage, yaicks!

    Francisca - i am glad i have been at least to 2 places in the world where you have not been to: Solo, Indonesia and my place, LOL. When you go to Burubudur and Prambanan, get a train to Solo where cultural traditions like batik making are still intact. We just walked around the town center and their portals are really wonderful. I posted 3parts on that trip and some Solo photos are here: .

    And i am glad i can tell you something you still dont know, the underside of butterflies very different from the upside, and that the adults know the specific plant that their larvae prefer to eat! haha.

  22. MsRobin - thanks for your comments, if only i can all invite you to watch our butterflies, they are really lovely to see in our backyard. Although taking photos are sometimes very difficult, like here i havent posted the more colored ones because they do not stop in more flowers.

    Kanak - I know you have lots of beautiful butterflies too, but maybe yours are more of the sub-tropical species.

  23. wow, that's a variety of beautiful butterflies you have here. i love seeing them around. thanks for making my day Andrea.

  24. Your butterflies are so exotic looking! So very different from the ones I see in my garden. I love that you chase them and observe their behavior. I often have to study all my photos to look closely at the wing patterns, etc. to id them. They are always moving so it is difficult to see the needed details to id them when they are fluttering about.

  25. You have some wonderful butterflies species there. Most are new for me. Enjoyed going through your images.

  26. These butterflies are stunning! Thanks so much for posting these awesome photos of them!

  27. Ah, these butterflies are gorgeous!

  28. Life Ramblings - i am glad i was able to help you make your day, i hope you will again come to visit.

    Karin - yes IDing of anything not familiar with us is so difficult, even taxonomists have difficulties. But my entomologist friend said the non-taxonomists ID butterflies faster than them because they aim for perfection, non-taxonomists like us have fewer criteria and we just put ID just so they have names, haha.

    Birdy - thank you, sometimes i am thinking of asking you for the ID, but thought maybe they are not in your area.

    The Retired One - thanks also for your kind words, i also always go to your posts.

    Sweetbay - thanks for coming, i know you have many wonderful butterflies there too!

  29. OMG Andrea what a bunch of beauties you have in your country. Wow! Monarchs have just returned to my garden after several years not seeing them.

  30. Amazing! Are they all in your place? We'd love to hear which plants to grow to attract them. Just like you, mine's all hit-and-miss (mostly miss, haha). What bothers me is that some of them eat the leaves of the plants while they're not yet butterflies but we let them anyway in the hope they'll turn out to be!

  31. Great butterfly shots, Andrea. You know, I do my blog crawl alphabetically. Did this post have a kiasu effect? Will I be seeing butterflies again in the "O" blogs? Hehehe.

    I consistently find butterflies around my lantana and shanghai bloom, if that information is of any use to you.

  32. I seem to be a newcomer in the butterfly chase. I see you, One, and Autumn Belle have been already chasing them for sometime now. I have some problems with ID-ing some of my photos which I took at a butterfly sanctuary last month. I enjoyed your post.Did you set up your own butterfly garden?

  33. Gosh, I have never seen these beautiful butterflies since I was a child...which is quite long ago. The last time I saw them were in Amsterdam Botanical Garden and I think one in NY a few years back. I only see mostly solid brown, and yellow butterflies, some black with a violet combination. How do you raise these beauties? :)


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