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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Butterfly :: {NSM!}

A four legged butterfly.
How intensely interesting is that?! Read on if you are mystified... or even if you're not. You might learn something.
I did!! :)

Well, I promised a post, and I can't say that it'll be super interesting to everyone, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves! ;) Hopefully, you are getting outside (daily?) already and enjoying yourselves just as much this March in your own corner of the world! I know that at least several of you are doing just that and were mighty quick on the draw with your posts. Three of you beat me to the linky! Shoot. I can get the nature studies done, but the posts... Well, all I can say is, I claim tired-exammed-out-prego brain.

{Please do share your nature study posts for the month! See the linky below... 
AND there's a group of my fellow AOer's attempting to get outside everyday this month. Wanna join them?}

There's the evidence. Look closely, it seems to have only four legs. How is that possible? Don't all insects have six? We'll get to that. Meanwhile, have you ever noticed the names of butterflies...? How 'bout a Grecian Shoemaker, Red Admiral, Isabella, Julia, Esmeralda, Mosaic, Wizard, Common Map... Wow. Cool names! Well, some of them anyway. A few of them are rather common... poor guy.

I'm pretty sure we've narrowed down the possible identity of ours to a Tiger Butterfly, a Large Tiger or a mimicry of one or the other. It's not exactly like the pictures in the book, but it does say they vary. The antennae of ours isn't orange like the typical Tiger Butterfly, rather more similar to those of the Large Tiger. Its markings are not as like the latter's as to those of the former. So, you see, I don't know. However, both are part of the Nymphalidae family, which means it is a relative of "some of the world's most beautiful and spectacular butterflies," according to my book. And what's really cool is I recognize a good number from this family.

Either way, it was fun looking it up. :)

I mentioned that we read it might be a mimicry of something else, and so we were surprised by joy when we just happened upon this interesting tidbit:
"Poisonous butterflies of the same species often fly together so that their warning colors are more easily recognized. A number of poisonous species even share a similar warning pattern. In this way, birds have only to learn that one species is poisonous to avoid all the rest. Some nonpoisonous species mimi poisonous species, so that they too are left alone. In the past, these mimicry associations have confused entomologists, who have only recognized one species where several in fact existed."
So, there you have it. We may have discovered a new species. You just never know. If so, I want everyone to note the date of this post. Just in case. :)

As to the question of legs:
My kids are the ones who pointed out to me that the butterfly only had four legs. I said, "All insects have six", and then I looked very, very closely and can I just say it's third pair seemed very non-existent? I told the kids they must be there... somewhere. I even showed them where they could be completely and perfectly hidden... practically invisible even. But, as motherly as possible, I kept my doubts to myself.

I admit, I looked it up tonight for backup. In the book it says reassuringly, "The most important characteristic separating this large group from other species of butterfly is the front pair of legs, which are usually undeveloped so they no longer have a walking function." So there. Apparently, in many butterflies (not just this mutant family), the first pair of legs are short or kept folded up. Such is the case with our butterfly. Phew. I'm glad I was right. :) I can't wait to tell the kids.

Oh, and, we are not the only ones to have doubted. Just do a google search. It's funny. Apparently, it's a common question. :)

Want a really great butterfly book?
Here's the one I use the most:
 (and you can get it super cheap!)
(and at the same time throw us a tip since it's an affiliate link and all)

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! 

Snag a button if you wanna! :)
Come back and share your nature studies with us any time this month!

1 comment:

Celeste said...

Wow, the pictures and drawings are fantastic! So neat. And I just love when mom is right. ;)

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