A very stunning butterfly is the Banded Orange Heliconian (Dryadula phaetusa) also known as the Orange Tiger.
It can be found from Mexico to northern Argentina, and in summer can be found on rare occasions as far north as central Florida.
The vertical lines on the wings are an example of disruptive patterning. This breaks up the outline of the butterfly to make it difficult for birds and other predators to see and catch it.
This butterfly displays many interesting behaviors. It not only feeds on the nectar of flowers, the males sip nutrients from wet sand and mud and bird droppings. This behavior is called mud-puddling. From the fluids they obtain nutrients such as salts and amino acids needed for successful mating.
Males are very territorial and will find a place to perch near the host plant, Passionvine (passiflora spp.), where they can watch for females. They patrol around the area in search of females. Once a potential mate is spotted, the male will flutter around the female in a figure-eight motion before settling beside her. If she is receptive she remains motionless, and the male then half opens his wings. He then flutters them very rapidly for a few seconds to direct his pheromones towards her antennae, which has the effect of placating her. The male then curves his abdomen around to make contact and copulate.
Just like many Heliconius species, the butterflies will find a bush or tree where they can rest for the night. They tend to find the same place every day around dusk to settle down in clusters to roost overnight.
Some books are meant to be read to children while they sit on your lap. A Butterfly Is Patient is just one of those books.
An incredible variety of butterflies and caterpillars are illustrated in real-life colors and sizes, from the iridescent Blue Morpho (Morpho menelaus) and the brilliant orange Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) to the tiniest butterfly, the Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis) and the largest, Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae).
The lyrical text makes this a beautiful, yet informative and entertaining read.
I look forward to my granddaughter sitting on my lap so I can share this lovely book with her.
A Butterfly Is Patient was written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long. Click Here or on the book cover to add it to your butterfly library.
There are many ways to brighten our lives with butterflies. Some communities have beautiful butterfly murals that do just that.
This lovely mural is located in South Norfolk, Virginia, (all murals in this article are located in the USA) and was painted by artist Chip Wilkinson.
You can find these Monarch butterflies on the side of Toni’s Market in the Phillips neighborhood of southside Minneapolis.
“Monarch Magic” depicts the Monarch butterflies that overwinter in a strand of eucalyptus trees on South Vandenberg Air Force Base. You can see it on a stroll through Old Town Lompoc, California.
This beautiful mural is located at Candlelight Ranch near Austin, Texas. Candlelight Ranch provides therapeutic and educational nature-based experiences to enrich the lives of at-risk youth and children with disabilities.
Sometimes murals have a story. “The Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight,” depicts life in Joplin, Missouri both before and after the devastating tornados of 2011. It was inspired by the stories of young survivors who said that they saw butterfly people who protected them from the storm.
A mural can also be political such as this one, which is intended as a show of support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s campaign to protect their water and sacred grounds from the Dakota Access Pipeline. In addition to the threat to people, water and sacred places, the Dakota Access Pipeline could also kill the Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae) a rare prairie butterfly protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Some murals carry a message of love and hope such as this beautiful artwork in Newark, New Jersey.
The Monarch butterfly in this mural, located at the Cecil Williams Glide Community House in San Francisco is a symbol of hope for homeless families and individuals, and people recovering from addiction, where they receive support services.