Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pieris Rapae

This butterfly is the most common in our yard. We see several of them several times every day. They look pure white to the eyes; their movements are very rapid and even more unpredictable than those of their larger colleagues. At the same time, they almost never land and rest. I caught one feeding early in July and showed a picture of it (link). Their habit is to keep the wings closed as they eat; occasionally they flutter the wings very rapidly. Yesterday another Small White (aka Cabbage Butterfly or Cabbage White) “made itself available.” It might have had a big night and was still sort of recovering. I took the best ever pictures of it, of which I show the best one. Here the markings of the butterfly are clearly visible—as is its body and antennae. The creature probably only rests in this open manner when it is perfectly camouflaged—which happens on this aging hosta leaf. The coincidence of spots on the hosta and on the butterfly is quite remarkable. Clicking the image will enlarge it; Esc returns you to the blog.

Hostas are a great favorite around here too, so much so that once we visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (“A Place for All Seasons”) just to spend half a day admiring its endless expanses of hostas, one of the most famous such plant communities in the world. Some 200 different kind live under tall, dark trees in an enchanted setting. The resting place of the Small White is a Fortunei albomarginata, also known as Silver Crown; it is one of the most common hosta varieties.

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