Friday, April 1, 2011

Butterfly Battle

To us, life, for butterflies, seems rather stress-free and idyllic, especially for those species which are bird-proof by virtue of their nasty taste. In reality it’s nothing of the sort.
Yesterday I watched these two having a territorial dispute, at Lake Broadwater (near Dalby).
The upper one, a native wanderer (Danaus chrysippus) had a good piece of territory, on a gargaloo Parsonsia eucalyptophylla high in the treetops. Gargaloos are host plants of very high value to a number of species of butterfly in the danaid group, so the possession of one puts a male butterfly in a prestigious position. It’s a good move, when it comes to meeting girls, to be able to offer them a creche of such high status.
Then along came the crow butterfly (Euploea core) and tried his level best to take over and drive the wanderer out.
He wasn’t having any success at all. The wanderer refused to budge, despite prolonged and determined campaign harassment by the interloper.
It does remind us that butterflies, like every other animal in the wild, have to cope with competition and aggression from members of their own and other species.

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