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 Post subject: Butterfly: Common Mother-of-Pearl
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:11 am
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Location: Cato Ridge
I found this dead butterfly in my kitchen at 7am. Can someone ID it for me? I think this is the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life.

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 Post subject: Re: Butterfly ID needed
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Common Mother-of-Pearl maybe?


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 Post subject: Re: Butterfly ID needed
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:42 pm
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Location: Waar die enigste slang 'n tuinslang is...Joburg
Yes, it is a common mother-of-pearl (Protogoniomorpha parhassus). They are fairly common in most of the forested areas along the eastern side of South Africa, but as you said, they are definitely one of our more spectacular species. I can't really imagine how a good specimen such as this one ended up dead in you kitchen though?

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 Post subject: Re: Butterfly ID needed
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:21 am 
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BushSnake wrote:
I can't really imagine how a good specimen such as this one ended up dead in you kitchen though?


Maybe finished laying eggs and crawled somewhere to die. Don't they do die after they finished mating and lay eggs?


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 Post subject: Re: Butterfly ID needed
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:10 am 
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Location: Waar die enigste slang 'n tuinslang is...Joburg
Yes they do, but the larvae of these butterflies feed on plants that grow in the undergrowth, which means that by the time the female has finished laying all her eggs she would be fairly battered from flying in and out of plants all the time (and these butterflies in particular lay hundreds, if not thousands of tiny little green eggs). If you have an Asystasia gangetica, or a Isoglossa sp. nearby you should go and have a look for larvae. The larvae are spiky, and start off being greenish / black, and in their 4th instar they become black with white bars and in the final instar they become black with orange bars and reach lengths of about 6-7cm.

My guess would be that she entered the kitchen, and couldn't get food or get out and died. Mother-of-pearl butterflies are often found in holes and hollowed out tree trunks where they congregate and sleep in large numbers. It is quite a site to accidentally flush them out and watch 20-30 of these things disperse into the undergrowth!

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