Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nature Notes/ The End Too Soon

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.~ Rabindranath Tagore

But some do not make it. Like these tiny eggs...On recent bird watching trip I was hoping to get some butterfly shots. But with the day being cloudy I only saw a few flying about as we were about to return. My friend Mitali noticed a butterfly on the ground. It looked like a Lime butterfly (one of the most commonly seen swallowtails here) but the coloration was slightly different. It was sad to see some of the eggs still attached to the body. Back home I looked up my Book of Indian Butterflies and it looked similar to the Common Yellow swallowtail. The photo below was taken with these coloured stones on the wings to hold them in place. It's a butterfly I have never seen in my yard nor photographed. Maybe on my next trip to the same place I may be able to photograph this beautiful butterfly- alive.

This post is for Michelle's Nature Notes. Click on the link and check out posts on nature by other participants.



Jedediah said...

She's beautiful. I hope that she had the chance to lay many of her eggs already before her life ended.

Carver said...

It is sad to see butterflies or any animal for that matter at the end of their life but then such a pleasure to see new ones. Beautiful shots.

Cyren said...

Hello, its been awhile since I was here. Such a beautiful picture she made, with her eggs still attached to her, as if she strove to her final moments to ensure that her young ones would see the world.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know that this is not a swallowtail butterfly (Papilionidae) but one of the Rajahs (Charaxinae). Specifically I believe it is the "Black Rajah" or (Charaxes solon).

If you kept her eggs and are interested in raising the caterpillars, they will feed happily enough on the leaves of the tamarind plant.


Cyren said...

Also, since you are a fellow butterfly enthusiast, here is a simple tip on attempting to identify butterflies to their main families (which will make it significantly easier to trace them down to the specific species)

The two main groups of large butterflies are divided into papilionidae and nymphalidae.

Papilionidae are the swallowtails. Generally they are large/colorful/or possess tails on their wings. More importantly they will always have six legs!

Within Papilionidae here's how you can identify individual groups
- Red bodied with (usually) narrow wings are the order Atrophaneura
- Black bodies with broad wings (usually tailed) are Papilio
- Large ones with stout bodies and strong flight are the birdwings Troides, Trogonoptera and Ornithoptera

her hand are small-large sized butterflies. What makes them different from papilionidae is that they will always have four legs (the front pair are reduced in this family).

Within Papilionidae here's how you can identify some of the more common individual groups
- Predominantly white/yellow wings are Pieridae
- Stout bodies (like the one you uploaded above) and strong flight muscles are Charaxinae
- Monarch butterfly-look alikes and all the crows are Danaidae

Good luck!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh that is sad, but you got the detail of the eggs even..Lovely colors.. Thank you for linking to Nature Notes...Michelle

Leora said...

Ah, life is short and beautiful for a butterfly. Hope you get to see more of these beauties, flying about in a friendly garden.

lotusleaf said...

So sad the beautiful butterfly died so soon. Whether she is a commoner or a Rajah, she is beautiful. This butterfly is not common in these parts.

eileeninmd said...

It is very sad to see this butterfly died efore it could finish layin here eggs. I do hope some were a sucess. Butterfly butterfly and photos.

Celeste said...

Hopefully she laid many eggs and these were just the last few. Nature is a harsh mistress indeed.

Cyren said...


Yes, do not hesitate to ask at all and I'll help if I can! I always anticipate your butterfly-posts