Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nymphamania!!! No, not the sexual kind.

Hey ya'll

It's been quite a week lately and despite a small bout of fatigue and continence I have recovered almost fully, up and about and ready to do - among other things - some work! I regret to report though that despite the early accomplishment of completing the Marilyn Monroe essay, I've not yet had much success with the second chapter of my thesis - indeed, I am stuck somewhere between conceptualizing and beginning - but if it is any consolation to myself, I do suppose I may be considered as a fast worker. Once I actually get started on this thing, it shouldn't be two or three days before I finish the note-form draft to be viewed by my supervisor - whom I am very tempted right now to approach for an application for extended submission deadline! However, work aside, one of the other ups of having gotten back my health at this juncture is my ability to explore the natural once more! Of course the world waits for no person and I had been pining for days, the things I must've missed out in the forest and other parks when I was too preoccupied by remaining indisposed in bed. Some of the more drastic changes would have been man made I suppose and I returned to my usual spot to discover the weed patch - of which I had written so fondly about two posts back - had been summarily cleared out. One of the cleaners noticed me staring ruefully at the carnage left before his shears and asked me if there was a problem. I promptly told him about the caterpillars I had come to observe and their pupae and he started explaining how he was just following orders. I did not blame him though, and he was very apologetic about it, and I told him so but in a fit of apology he rummaged inside one of his sacks - the ones where cut leaves are thrown into - and produced a larvae and offered it to me. I declined, "Thank you, but no." I told him. "It is still too small, and I would have nothing to feed it with." I did, however, managed to rescue two beautiful chrysalids which now sit on the office table - captivating a group of my office mates who no doubt cannot wait to witness the transformation from pupae to butterfly themselves.

Lone survivors. My two Tawny Coster (acraea terpsicore) pupae
But on a separate note there is the haze, which is only growing thicker by the day... and more suffocatingly so!  Really, I wonder what is it about this time of year that always seems to bring haze to our country... it's horrible and even a few minutes of walking outside is enough to make one wish one were back indoors. Nature, however seems to be countering the dull gloominess of the haze with Her own attempts at injecting color and it seems the forest - now definitely on it's last leg (for it is but a week before she is torn down) has been in full bloom. It almost seems like it knows its time is up and is therefore rushing to disperse it's progeny! The mixed fragrance of flowers and fruits so strong that even the haze cannot block out completely seem to be attracting out of their hiding spaces tons of insects, butterflies and birds who will no doubt disperse the seeds to further locations. For the better part I was content to leave them at it. It is extremely fascinating how nature on Her own seems to possess this will to survive... then again, which living being doesn't? Either way, I would not hinder the process and took my collecting - and observing - self elsewhere. Which is good, because it gives me the opportunity to scout out a lot more different habitats as well. And so many things I have learnt. For example, upon taking a walk to the park below my house (I needed something to calm me down after the blood test ... I HATE NEEDLES!) I discovered a wide variety of butterflies, many of which I had no idea flew in this area. I netted a few of them (with MUCH exertion considering my low platelet count!) but only one of each species (there was no need to be greedy!) and here they are.

The four beauties
The first butterfly of today was this Glassy Yellow Tiger (Parantica Aspasia) which was extremely beautiful in the way the sunlight shone through the transparent patches of its wings. The butterfly was easy to catch, possessing a floating, lazy sort of flight and there were several of them high up in the trees. 

The Crow butterflies were also rather numerous and plentiful and I managed to catch two of them. I can identify this one quite surely as the Striped Blue Crow (Euploea Mulciber) and the other - somewhat reservedly - as the Common Crow (Euploea Core). An interesting fact about these crow butterflies such as the Common Crow is that they possess leathery wings and tough bodies, capable of withstanding most predators! When attacked, rather than simply running away, the butterflies ooze a vomit inducing liquid which causes predators to instantly release them. Upon the release the butterfly continues to fake it's death until the predator leaves. The butterfly than 'miraculously' returns from the dead and promptly flutters away!
Last but not least, this magnificent and large butterfly. This butterfly with its large size, white spots, and tailed hindwings are often mistaken in flight for the Red Helen Swallowtail (Papilio Helenus) but what it actually is, is a member of the Satyrinae sub-group of butterflies called the Malayan Owl (Neorina Lowii Latipicta). Satyrinae generally prefer to fly in shaded areas and although are mostly day flying, tend to show aversion towards the sun. It was a wonder one as beautiful as this would deign to appear before me on such a hot day as today!
Now finally, one last snippet of fun filled trivia before I leave... you will notice, perhaps the rather strange lettering of the word "Nymphomania" in my title... but rather than a spelling error, it was a deliberate play on the butterflies' sub-species. Now, if you had caught one of these butterflies (and indeed I regret now for not taking a closer shot of their bodies for you) that they possess only four legs. Four, instead of the insect customary of six. And while many first time observers have come to remark upon astonishment that the butterfly had somehow got one pair of it's legs detached, this is actually something which is quite natural. These butterflies, the two danaidae (the crows and tiger) and the satyrinae are both members of the nymphalidae butterflies, sometimes also called brush-footed or four legged butterflies. And this is quite simply because - for whatever reason - the species have evolved to grow reduced pairs of front-legs (resembling small brushes) with only four of their remaining legs visible upon observation. Indeed, I could probably go on and on about butterflies, but work is calling and I would be wise to use what small ammount of strength I have left to get some of it done. Till next time, my readers.

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