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The lucky one?

 
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SteveB



Joined: 25 Nov 2017
Posts: 29
Location: Pretoria South Africa

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:50 am    Post subject: The lucky one? Reply with quote

From time to time there has been discussion on this forum on how many of the blue butterflies have "eye spots" and "false antennae" on their hind wings in order to fool predators into attacking the tail rather than the head. they also use various behaviours to enhance the deception, such as turning around as soon as they land on a perch, or rubbing their hind wings together to draw attention to that part of the body.

As the blue family is the largest in South Africa and blues are often reasonably easily approached with a camera, I find that quite a lot of my time is spent watching and photographing blues. I have been particularly on the look out for "bite marks" on the hind wing and can confirm that one does see them from time to time, but not quite as much as I would have expected. My internet searches have also yielded fewer pictures than I would have thought, but that is probably because photographers usually prefer to photograph perfect specimens.

I have also realized recently that a bitten hind wing is more a case of this phenomena "almost" working than proof that it is working perfectly. It is probably more common for the butterfly to escape completely unscathed than to have a "lucky" escape where it looses part of the hind wing.

I recently saw this Anthene definita (common hairtail) flying weakly around what I think is one of its food plants. She rested long enough for me to get a focus bracketed series which I stacked in Zerene stacker.




This species has the eye spots, but the tails are not very convincing as antennae. It does however rub its hind wings together when perched with closed wings.
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7870
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice observations Steve, and a very good illustration Applause
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SteveB



Joined: 25 Nov 2017
Posts: 29
Location: Pretoria South Africa

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Chris.
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
Posts: 2763
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprising that this poor thing can still fly!
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Lou Jost
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