Winter has suddenly gone, and I managed to not make a single blog post the entire season. Too busy staying warm, or working or other stuff. A lone fluttering Common Jezebel (Delias nigrina) in the backyard last week reminded me that I had meant to post about the profusion of butterfly life in town prior to the onset of the cold. I checked my backyard list and I had not recorded this species in my backyard before, even though it was a common viistor to our yard in Brisbane, where its larvae would feed on the native mistletoe in the plants around the suburb. My Toowoomba backyard list now stands at 24 species.
Images of four other species spotted in the yard this year.
Butterflies are a favourite subject for natural history photographers around the world. Photographer Ulf Westerberg has has just published Fragile Wings — Secrets of Butterflies and Moths, a wonderful photographic exploration of Sweden’s butterflies. It has some of the most spectacular butterfly images I have ever seen. A selection of these wonderful images can be viewed here.
Bengal Butterflies is a spectacular website dedicated to the butterflies of West Bengal. Photographer Ujjal Ghosh states on his site that the world has approximately 17,000 recognised species of butterflies, India has 1,501 and West Bengal may have up to 600 species!
If you have time check out the page where you can send an email greeting with one of his spectacular butterfly images attached. Ujjal has another website of natural history images, which can be seen here.
There are many websites dedicated to Australian butterflies. While we have between 20,000 and 30,000 species of moths, Australia has only about 416 butterfly species. Butterflies haven’t adapted well to the arid conditions of this continent.
One of the most comprehensive and informative Australian butterfly websites is the Lepidoptera/Butterfly House website. The Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club is a Brisbane-based group with a great website on Australian butterflies (and other invertebrates of course).
A site that I particularly like comes from Deane Lewis. Like Ujjal’s site, it is also a visual treat. Deane also has an incredible collection of images of other invertebrates and wildlife. Check out the website here.
Butterflies are brilliant, and any naturalist or photographer can be forgiven for becoming totally obsessed with these wonderful creatures. As Ulf states in his book, “Butterflies have fascinated mankind since the dawn of time.” I hope it’s another great year for the local butterflies.