Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tawny Emperor

I got to add a new butterfly, the Tawny Emperor, to my Blue Jay Barrens list. This find was not the result of any sophisticated search. Rather, it was pure luck or maybe just an encounter with an extremely clumsy butterfly. While I was standing in the yard, a butterfly fell out of a tree and made an audible plop in the grass. As it fell past my face I noted a slightly different coloration than what I was used to. I pulled out my camera and began to power up, with plans to get one shot before the butterfly took off.

I took a couple of quick shots, but the butterfly didn’t move. I got closer and was finally down on my elbows looking at a butterfly I had never seen here before. I figured this butterfly must be near death and decided to move the leaf that was wrinkling the hind wing. The moment I touched that leaf, the Tawny Emperor shot out of the grass and was gone. So much for my near death theory. Why didn’t it try to fly when it fell out of the tree?

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in the eyes of many insects that have large compound eyes. A small dark area, resembling a pupil, can be seen centered in the portion of the eye you are viewing. As you move, this spot will move.

No matter where you are, the spot appears to be aimed directly towards you. I wonder if it has something to do with the facets of the eye being viewed straight on? Whatever the reason, it gives those insects a neat little bit of individual personality.

1 comment:

  1. ...interesting bit about the eye. I've just started getting into butterfly eyes. I'll watch for that.