By Sharman Apt Russell
Sharman Apt Russell back blends her lush voice and prepared clinical eye during this remarkable publication approximately butterflies. From Hindu mythology to Aztec sacrifices, butterflies have served as a metaphor for resurrection and transformation. Even in the course of global battle II, young children in a Polish loss of life camp scratched 1000's of butterflies onto the partitions in their barracks. yet as Russell issues out during this wealthy and lyrical meditation, butterflies are mainly items of obsession. From the beastly horned caterpillar, whose blood is helping it count number time, to the peacock butterfly, with wings that hiss like a snake, Russell lines the butterflies via their existence cycles, exploring the creatures' personal obsessions with consuming, mating, and migrating. during this means, she unearths the good judgment at the back of our unending fascination with butterflies in addition to the riding ardour of such mythical creditors because the tragic Eleanor Glanville, whose childrens declared her mad as a result of her compulsive butterfly amassing, and the intense Henry Walter Bates, whose collections from the Amazon in 1858 helped enhance his thought of mimicry in nature. Russell additionally takes us within a number of the world's such a lot prestigious usual background museums, the place scientists painstakingly catalogue and categorize new species of Lepidoptera, hoping to make clear insect genetics and evolution. A luminous trip via an unique global of obsession and unusual attractiveness, this can be a publication to be valuable by means of a person who is ever watched a butterfly mid-flight and inspiration, as Russell has, "I've entered one other dimension."
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Additional resources for An Obsession With Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair With A Singular Insect
Above and between the caterpillar’s mouth parts is a tube that produces silk. Most larvae spin out a sticky thread that helps secure them to surfaces as they move forward. In this way, they are not easily shaken from a leaf or twig. Silk can also be used for rolling up leaves, creating shelters, attaching the pupa to its resting spot, or spinning the rare cocoon. ~ 18 ~ TOUGH LOVE The California White Tip lays an egg that resembles a tiny ear of corn. Miraculously, the egg hatches. Without pause, the caterpillar begins to feed and grow until the joints between its body segments distend.
Sometimes it coils into a wheel and rolls back at a speed of fifteen inches a second! This is a sprint, the ultimate chase scene. In one experiment, researchers watched 628 interactions between wasps and Asian swallowtail caterpillars. Inexperienced and new to hunting, 178 wasps did not attack at all. Against the 450 who did, most caterpillars hunched up; extruded their orange, forked, fleshy scent glands; and wafted a nasty chemical. Deterred, 191 wasps backed away; 64 of these successfully reattacked.
Phil’s research into the association of ants and caterpil~ 31 ~ AN OBSESSION WITH BUTTERFLIES lars began in Borneo when he watched a group of ants negotiate with the larva of a blue butterfly. He could as easily have been in Canada or Central America or England. Over 2,000 species of butterflies around the world suffer from myrmecophily. They are ant-loving. ” In Panama, Phil experimented with metalmark caterpillars who feed on sapling trees that have a small nectary at the base of each leaf.
An Obsession With Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair With A Singular Insect by Sharman Apt Russell