Friday, August 27, 2010

Bronx Zoo Butterflies - Julias Dryas iula

First off these butterflies are very variable. This I didn't know. I had thought that they were different species. But this wasn't the case. They were all in fact the same butterfly just very variable. Also according to Wikipedia they're over 15 subspecies known to science.

Wowzer. I bet you that these were once possibly variations of the butterfly. Hell the ones in the photo could be a subspecies for God's sake!

Why? Well let's see here:

1. Both male & female have this patterning.
2. It's common. As in it isn't something that's "unique".
3. Due to the above it could be classified as a subspecies

If of course it hasn't already. But for all I know it probably has.

Dryas iulia (often incorrectly spelled julia), commonly called the Julia Butterfly or Julia Heliconian, is a species of brush-footed butterfly. The sole representative of its genus Dryas, it is native from Brazil to southern Texas and Florida, and in summer can sometimes be found as far north as eastern Nebraska. Over 15 subspecies have been described.

Its wingspan ranges from 82 to 92 mm, and it is colored orange (brighter in male specimens) with black markings; this species is somewhat unpalatable to birds and belongs to the "orange" Batesian mimic complex.

This butterfly is a fast flier and frequents clearings, paths, and margins of forests and woodlands. It feeds on the nectar of flowers, such as lantanas (Lantana) and Shepherd's-needle (Scandix pecten-veneris). Its caterpillars feeds on leaves of passion vines including Passiflora affinis and Yellow Passionflower (P. lutea) in Texas.

The species is popular in butterfly houses because it is long-lived and active throughout the day.

So there you go ( for now, will be edited for more info if found ).


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