Monday, 20 September 2010

My Favourite Butterflies

The Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses) has brilliant electric blue upper wings, trimmed in black.
When flying or feeding they can be easily seen, but not easily photographed. The underside of their wings are dull brown, so that when wings are closed they easily camouflage. Their wingspan is 100 - 130 mm (9 cm). Their caterpillar is green and white to blend in with the plants it feeds on. One of their favourite food plants is the euodia ( Melicope vitiflora ). When I lived at Trinity Beach, near Cairns, they regularly visited my euodia, but I'll never see them in my Brisbane garden. They only live in the Tropics.
The Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) is Australia’s largest butterfly species, with females reaching a wingspan of up to 16 cm. Males are usually a few centimeters smaller and are the flashy gender. They have a predominately black upper wing with emerald green flashes. The female lacks the green coloring, having a plain black upper wing with white patches. The female is the larger of the two sexes.
The larvae or caterpillars of this species breed on several species of pipe vine, including Aristolochia tagala and Pararistolochia deltantha. The leaves of the introduced Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia elegans) will kill the larvae of this species and several other swallowtail butterflies in Australia. It should not be planted anywhere in Queensland, New South Wales or the Northern Territory. The Brisbane area has a similar, slightly smaller, butterfly called the Richmond Birdwing which also relies on Pararistolochia deltantha. I've planted the vine and hope that one day they find it.

I took these photos at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda (near Cairns) when we were there a while ago.
I went looking for the photos to see if I could identify a caterpillar Africanaussie had found in her garden, and decided they would make a great subject for Mosaic Monday.
As you walk through the butterfly house, hundreds of tropical butterflies are going about their lives in the jungle-like enclosure. You can see many more beautiful mosaics at Dear Little Red House.


14 comments:

  1. Great mosaics, Missy! Occasionally we do see the Ulyssus and the Cairns Birdwing around here ... it's always a jaw-dropping experience. The colours are just so stunning! Great photos and information on some of our fascinating butterflies.

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  2. Beautiful images ... gorgeous setting ... love the butterflies!

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  3. My favorite thing in the garden, a butterfly. Fabulous photos.

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  4. Great shots! The butterfly house is so cool, enjoyed your mosaics!

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  5. Such wonderful varieties that I will never see in my corner. I especially like the shape of the butterfly in the second mosaic with the green and black coloring. As for colorful...the blue Ulysses is stunning!

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  6. Missy,
    Oh I love that butterfly sanctuary in Kuranda. I am hoping mine are ulysses - I cant tell you how many photos I have of them with their wings folded! My new camera has fast shutter capability and once I learn to use that feature I hope to capture some on film.

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  7. What stunning butterflies! I'm amazed at the exotic beauty & variety downunder :-)

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  8. Very nice. Lovely Lovely butterflys.

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  9. Oh, how lucky you are to have a butterfly house you can walk through!! I do so love butterflies and you have some very exquisite and beautiful offerings. Wishing you well! Cathy

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  10. Butterflies are such majestic creatures. The colourations are so endless. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Butterflies are indeed beautiful as shown in your lovely post. Thank you for sharing, Missy.

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  12. All of these butterflies look so exotic to me! The blue Ulysses is beautiful. It must be wonderful to see so many butterflies at once and be able to get close enough to photograph them.

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  13. so beautiful and so different from our prairie butterflies. We do have one with blue on its wings, but that is almost the only one. None are green. Love see yours.~~Dee

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  14. Hi Missy, I've been there twice and loved it. So many beautiful butterflies. Tip: when you go there next wear something bright. I saw a Japanese girl there with a red t-shirt and these butterflies were sitting on her shoulders all the time, probably thinking she was a flower, lol. You did well with your pics, as I found it so hard to do, these darn things kept moving, lol.
    Manage to take the coccoon haha.

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