Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mystery Butterfly #2 Mechanitis sp.


Ithomiinae

Mechanitis sp.

But which one? My friend Ben had guessed it was Mechanitis menapis. The closest I could come to in that regard was Mechanitis menapis occasiva which is very very similar if not for a few differences in the patterns.

When I sent the photo to Kim Garwood (the women is legend) she told me something very interesting (in general) about ID'ing butterflies in exhibits. She told me that it was hard to do so because in the butterfly farms where these come from they often experiment (for lack of better wording) and get weird hybrids.

So now I'm wondering if this butterfly could also be a hybrid between 2 somethings (Mechanitis sp. definitely)? My other question is are Mechanitis sexually dimorphic? During research on these I have wondered greatly on this.......

Photobucket

Little fuzzy but the underside of this bad boy. *^^*

Is there anyway to know for sure exactly what this is? Both photos taken at NHM Butterfly Exhibit 10-08-11

4 comments:

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Cyren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cyren said...

I am afraid my knowledge as far as mechanitis goes is very limited so I can't be of much help here. But your friend may actually be right!!!

Many butterfly farms do end up with hybrids though I would say sometimes NOT by intentional experimentation. I think it is just that, well... you can't keep so many butterflies together in one enclosed space and not expect a certain level of cross-breeding to happen.

For instance, I've seen Cethosia biblis mating with Danaus vulgaris before although... not sure what became of the offspring. As to whether this particular heliconius butterfly is a hybrid, is really beyond me.

no worries, I'll try to ask around for you as well!

Brittanie said...

Aaah thank you!

You wouldn't believe how many of these there were. From what I could remember counting maybe I saw 6-7 mixed in with Isabellas.

Wish I had gotten a video. One was in love with my shirt and was all over it (it had sparkly monarchs on it) but these even stumped the staff as to what they were!

It was amusing to see all of us flipping through this giant field guide of sorts looking for it and finding nothing.

Something that might interest you. When I went back for the third time they had Mechanitis polymnia (got a video will post it) when I asked the staff what it was and she told me I told her about my mystery Mechanitis and my theories of it possibly being M. menapis spp.

She then told me that the only Mechanitis that they get is M. polymnia I never got to show her the picture (wish I had) but I wonder if it could also be a form/abberation/subspecies of polymnia?

I haven't found a thing though to back this up. I'll keep looking too but my knowledge is also limited. But I'm learning. Found some really nice PDF's ♥

Thanks for the help. I'm gonna need it. Sorry for rambling. ^^;;

P.S I would've LOVED to see Cethosia & Danaus offspring!! EPIC! I didn't even know that was possible!!