Tag Archives: Butterflies and Moths

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower in Hawaii

Following on from yesterday’s post about the lack of rain at Upolu, it occurred to me that I rarely see Passion Vine Butterflies there these days. They used to be all over the place, but now I’m lucky to see one or two. I don’t think it’s related to the lack of rainfall, but don’t know what other factors might be involved.

Lady beetles on passion vine leaves

Ants and ladybugs on a passion vine leaf

I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.

I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).

What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!

Solstice photos

A Royal Palm in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Again the Solstice.’ See more responses here. I didn’t have any good ideas for illustrating the solstice so, instead, plumped for photos taken on the solstice.

The top photo, I’ve run before in 2019, but who doesn’t love a grumpy cat? The second photo, from 2021, is of a royal palm amongst other tropical foliage. These palms can grow to 70 feet tall and look very stately when planted in a row. This one was quite a bit smaller.

The bottom two photos show a Fiery Skipper butterfly on a Mesembryathemum flower in 2020, and a Pacific Day Octopus hunting in the company of a goatfish back in 2018.

Who, me?

A Gold Dust Day Gecko with a moth in its mouth

Most predators, on land and in the ocean, have a relatively poor success rate when it comes to snagging prey. Even when they’re successful, there’s no guarantee they’ll get to savor their prize.

I don’t know whether this Gold Dust Day Gecko was the one that caught this moth because, an instant after the capture, two or three other geckos swooped down to snatch it. There was a flurry of bodies and this one emerged from the scramble with the moth firmly stashed in its jaws. This look suggests it was guilty of robbery.