Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Battus philenor--Pipevine Swallowtail
Yesterday, I led a butterfly walk at the UC Botanical Garden. I brought a couple of hand raised butterflies to release. The Anise Swallowtail flew away immediately, but this Pipevine Swallowtail stuck around for awhile so everyone could have a look, and so Spidermom could take a picture. Thank you Spidermom! (gotta find out more about what they name means...)I explained structural color to everyone as we looked at this beautiful black butterfly with the shiny turquoise hindwings. Most colors are pigments, but the rainbows in the sky are not pigments; the color is created by the way the sunlight reflects off the drops of water. And in similar fashion, the shiny turquoise color is caused by tiny ridges in the structure of the wing that cause the sunlight to reflect only that color. CDs also have tiny ridges that create rainbows. You can tell it is not pigment, because as you move the compact disc, the rainbows move. Pigment does not move.
So, after everyone got a good look at the Pipevine Swallowtail, we walked over to the pipevine to see the caterpillars. There were several, but no large ones. We saw several different species of adults on the walk: Buckeye, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Mylitta Crescent, Skippers, and more I can't remember. People seemed to really enjoy it. I'm glad that people are coming to my butterfly walk.