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Marble butterfly -- that's the one with green, isn't it?

 
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17417
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:01 pm    Post subject: Marble butterfly -- that's the one with green, isn't it? Reply with quote

To go with MacroLuv's recent postings of various cabbage butterflies, here's a related species from my neck of the woods.

This is one of the Marble whites, Euchloe ausonides most likely.

From a distance, I'd swear that they're green on the underside. "Green, I say!"

Wingspan as mounted, 34 mm.






Of course, I've been wrong before.

They're not green at all. Actually they're kind of black and yellow.

This always surprises me. I mean, sure enough, if you ask Photoshop to average the pixel values in the areas with the dark and yellow scales, you get something that looks sort of olive drab green. It looks just an awful lot like the color in that little "at a distance" image, which matches the real butterfly shockingly well. But if you just asked me, I'd predict that the average would be kinda brownish. Colors -- can't mix 'em, can't match 'em. Confused

These things have an interesting life cycle. They overwinter as pupae, emerge in early spring to lay eggs on wild mustard and rockcress, grow very quickly to get done before the plants dry out, then pupate to wait for the next spring. That is, unless the weather next spring doesn't seem so great, or maybe they just don't feel like coming out then. In either case they wait another year. And so on. Life is tough in the desert. Having different offspring take different shots seems to be a good way to have more of them.

The label on this specimen says "reared on wild mustard in Spring / emerged ~15-IV-96 after 2 (3?) yr pupation". I'm not usually so casual with my labels, but quite frankly I wasn't expecting this pupa to ever do anything and I lost track of which brood! d'oh!

--Rik

Edit to add technical details. Images 2 and 3 are stacked, 10 and 21 frames respectively.


Last edited by rjlittlefield on Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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beetleman



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 3578
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very beautiful butterfly Rik. I have never seen these before Shocked not even in books. The pupas must have to slow down their Metabolisms to nothing to stay in the ground for that extra time Shocked
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17417
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beetleman wrote:
The pupas must have to slow down their Metabolisms to nothing to stay in the ground for that extra time Shocked

Not even "in the ground", Doug. These critters pupate above ground, typically strapped to a stem with a girdle of silk around their middle, like shown here at BugGuide. In this area, they're exposed to air temperatures often over 100 degrees F with relative humidity in the 'teens. No eat, no drink, no apparent way to pick up moisture from the environment. Misting not required. The one shown above spent its time in a jar in my garage. How do they keep from drying out? Confused Shocked Toward the end, at least, they must exchange oxygen & CO2 with the environment to do their metamorphosis trick. Do they maintain a tight seal for most of the time, then break it down at the end for long enough to finish development? Somebody must have studied this, but I've never read.

In any case, yep, they're quite amazing little critters. Pretty, too. Very Happy

--Rik
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MacroLuv



Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked It looks like a textiles fabric. I think I have one of this kind in my archives. Very Happy
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 6909
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful, love the scale shot! Very Happy
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