The Blues are a subgroup of the family Lycaenidae, which comprise some 30% of butterflies species worldwide. They are a pain in the butt.
The first problem: they’re tiny. They hold the smallest butterfly in the world – the grass jewel – and often the difference between species comes to one spot on the hindwing that you can’t even see anyways. And they never stop moving.
Second problem: they’re also beautiful, but you never see that. (See point 1.) Their uper wings are a stunning blue in the right light. Unfortunately, even if the light is present, to see one sunbathing and stay still long enough for you to get close is an enormous feat of patience.
Mostly it comes down to hoping, and waiting. So this sighting, in the Western Ghats, made me extremely happy. 🙂
I first saw a blue pansy in the butterfly field guide I picked up on a whim at a stall from our local nature society. It captivated me: I found the brilliance of its colors, elegance in its wings immensely attractive, and vowed to see it in Singapore.
It would be years (well, two) before I clapped eyes on it there – finally, it was at a carpark, of all places, in a patch of grass that tawny costers and pansies, amongst others, had decided to colonize in unusually dense numbers on an unusually hot day. (Then again, this is Singapore we’re talking. Everyday is unusually hot.)
In Bangalore, however, I was walking one day when I noticed a ragged individual in a bush. It was a happy experience, to say the least – surreal, the fact that something that pretty was right there.
And then, predictably, I found it everywhere from then on. Ah well. I’m not complaining.
An as yet unidentified butterfly feeds on a flower in Kullu, India, its delicate proboscis just barely visible. It probably a member of Lycaenidae, otherwise known as the Blues – so named not because of their rather drab outside but rather the brilliant blue that hides in their folded-up inner wings. The largest family of butterflies in the world, it is one of a full third of the world’s butterfly species.
A female Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina), also known as the Blue Moon butterfly if you’re a Kiwi, puddles on the ground in Coorg, India. Butterflies are some of the best examples of sexual dimorphism in the wild. The male of this species has iridescent blue spots on his wings; while the flecks of cyan on this female’s are a little lackluster in comparison, I like to think it lends a sort of restrained elegance to her appearance.