Tag Archives: Heliotropes

A plethora of purple

A Bee approaches a purple bougainvillea

This week’s Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge is ‘Purple.’ See more responses here.

I’d like to say I have some kind of theme going here, but I don’t, outside the color.

First up is a bee approaching a very purple bougainvillea.

In the gallery, we have a Fiery Skipper butterfly feeding on a Blue Heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule) flower, a purple and white spider lily, and some dark purple Helmet Urchins clinging tenaciously to a rock.

A Purple Ice Cream sign at Kapaau, Hawaii

Then there’s a sign advertising purple ice cream. Not sure what flavor that is, but I’m a bit wary.

And finally, a lush purple orchid.

A purple orchid in Hawaii

Let’s work together

A Painted Lady Butterfly and a bee forage on tree heliotrope flowers in Hawaii
A Painted Lady Butterfly and a bee forage on tree heliotrope flowers in Hawaii

I saw this Painted Lady Butterfly and bee feeding on Tree Heliotrope flowers. Mostly, the various insects at work seem to accommodate each other, but I’ve seen occasional flurries of activities when one insects behavior disturbs the others. These two were very harmonious.

Lesser grass blue butterflies

Lesser grass blue butterflies

Lesser grass blue butterflies and a spiderThe lesser grass blue butterfly (Zizina otis) was first seen in Hawaii on Oahu in 2008 (for an article, or most of an article, about the find, click here). They’re now well established on the Big Island as well.

Lesser grass blues are very small, with a wingspan no more than ¾-inch. With wings folded up they’re the size of a small fingernail. They also fly close to the ground, within a foot or two.

Lately, I’ve been seeing them in large numbers on these blue heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule) flowers. When I say ‘seeing them,’ what I mean is that when I walk past a patch of these flowers, a host of lesser grass blues will flutter up from the flowers, dance around in a tizzy for a few moments, and then settle back down again. When they do this, it’s like blue confetti being thrown (a few inches) into the air.

I’ve tried to capture this image with my camera, but haven’t been able to (and I’ve taken LOTS of photos). The butterflies are so small, I’m tall, and the effect is fleeting. But the top photo gives an idea of what’s going on, with three lesser grass blues homing in on the small blue heliotrope flowers while a fourth has already found a spot.

It wasn’t until I processed the photos at home that I noticed the spider in the second photo. I don’t know what it made of all the butterfly activity. I hope they weren’t its prey.