Thursday, 26 May 2011

A bit on butterflies

Papilio polytes by joe with a camera
Papilio polytes, a photo by joe with a camera on Flickr.

Just a quick one, because it's getting late. I suddenly realised I've not done anything about the creepy-crawlies for a while, and thought I'd go for the more palatable variety for once. No, not literally.

Butterflies are everywhere. Most of them, of course, are little white ones, like you've got in your gardens (more or less - I've no idea what the species are). There are, however, a whole stack of other things that are much more impressive... including birdwings, huge fritillaries, and swallowtails. Swallowtails are all over the place, and many different species - the familiar type that occasionally gets spotted in Norfolk (mostly yellow with black speckles), and lots of others. In particular, there are quite a few black ones with a few dashes of colour - this one is Papilio polytes.

The problem is, they never sit still. You see them flying everywhere, but normally high up on the magnolias, and they barely settle for a second. Even when they do, their wings are fluttering so much you can't get close to a picture of them. This one finally took pity on us - it appeared out of nowhere, and plonked itself on a bush next to me. It waited for one photo, then off - but that's a lot better than normal.

Other beasties are coming out too. We're seeing baby mantises quite commonly, huge centipedes and millipedes (had a gorgeous ten-centimetre-long black and yellow one crawling all over me today), and there was also a squashed amblypygid on the pavement. I really, really want to meet a live one of those. If I do, you'll be the first to know, so stay tuned...

p.s. we're getting ready for our summer fieldwork trip to Wales at the moment - flying out in a week's time, and will hopefully see some of you over the next couple of months.

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