Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Glasswing butterflies

I've got to get cracking on an article about conjoined twins that I am writing for an on-line encyclopedia, so today I offer images of the glasswing butterfly. This species is native to Mexico and Central America and, like other butterflies, makes long migrations. They eat toxic plants like nightshade as caterpillars, storing the poison in their bodies to deter birds. Here is a video of a glasswing emerging from its chrysalis. In adult males, the toxin is converted to pheromones to attract females. They also beguile them by lekking. I have not observed this behavior among the butterfly species here in Florida, but see them all the time in my Mom's garden.

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