Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

Yesterday, a new visitor arrived on the rooftop garden.  Naturally, I wanted to know the name of this tiny guest who seemed to love my sedum.  After searching page by page through my Smithsonian Handbooks:  Butterflies and Moths unsuccessfully, I spent hours this morning combing the web.  I think my new friend is from the family Lycaenidae (Gossamer-winged); subfamily Theclinae (Hairstreaks); tribe Eumaeini; and genus Electrostrymon.  However, for the life of me, I can’t figure out which species — while the markings match, the colors don’t.  Any lepidopterists out there who can help?

Pale green & orange butterfly

As for what he (I’m pretty certain it is male) was doing on the sedum — he was rubbing his wings together.  For this, I did find an answer.  According to the Learn About Butterflies website:

Hairstreaks usually have a pattern of lines or stripes on the underside wings. These, in combination with ocelli ( false eye markings ) and short tails ( false antennae ) act to divert attention away from the head, and towards the outer edge of the hindwings. By oscillating the wings, the tails are made to wiggle like antennae, further increasing the illusion that the butterfly is ‘back to front’. Attacking birds will always aim at the head of a butterfly, but are tricked into aiming at the tail. The butterfly is thus able to escape in the opposite direction unharmed. Another reason for wing-rubbing is that male Hairstreaks have patches of specialised wing scales – ‘androconia’, located on their upperside forewings. Sacs at the base of these scales contain pheromones. Rubbing the wings together helps to disseminate the pheromones, which attract females and induce them to mate.

Maybe there will be some springtime courting on the terrace….

Read Full Post »


Ahhh… back in the warm embrace of Casita Colibrí.

A few days before leaving the Bay Area to return to Oaxaca, I spent a chilly, but crystal clear day in San Francisco with two old friends attending the wonderful, but crowded, Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism exhibit at the Palace of the Legion of Honor and having a delicious lunch at the Mandalay, a Burmese restaurant. A picture perfect day, I took the scenic route, through the Presidio, back to Mill Valley

Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands from the San Francisco Presidio

… and was overwhelmed with appreciation for the perfection of the scene before me; a much needed tonic to the relentless wet, gray days and multiple circumstantial challenges I’d been experiencing. And so, I boarded the plane on Saturday feeling refreshed, with a sense of renewal in the opening days of 2011.

Once in Houston for a five hour (ugh!) layover, I settled into a comfy seat in a quiet corner of an airport restaurant for a long lunch. And then, I glanced up at the TV and was confronted with breaking news of the Tucson shootings. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t… just sickened and incredibly saddened.

Most reasonable, thinking people teach their children that words have consequences; that it is irresponsible to cry “fire” when there is no fire in a crowded auditorium. And Buddhism teaches that “right speech” is the first principle of ethical conduct. Venomous rhetoric, from people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, incites irrational fear and inflames unwarranted passions, especially amongst those who feel disaffected. Thus, I say I wasn’t surprised.

At last, I boarded the little Embraer… even more eager for my return to southern Mexico. However, the news there wasn’t good, either. The friend who picked me up at the airport relayed the news of more political killings in Oaxaca. No escape.

However, geckos are chirping, the pinks and oranges of the setting and rising sun against the mountains paint a magnificent mural, hummingbirds are flitting from one succulent flower spike to another, and I’ve got a mariposa beginning the arduous task of emerging from its pupa.

Butterfly pupa on plumbago.

The words from a 1960s era poster come to mind, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: