Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The False Fritillary

We have native passionflower (Maypop) vines down by the pond, and they're the only larval food for the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, so we've been eager to see them. They don't come out until the late summer, so we've just started seeing the caterpillars...

And now we're starting to see the butterflies all over the place. I couldn't get a very good picture because, oddly enough, they won't hold still for me, but the top part of the butterfly is this beautiful bright orange...

...and the bottom side is this cool paper white with silver spots. It looks completely different depending on which side you see.

What I really love about these butterflies, though, is the sense of irony in their name. What's ironic, you ask?

ENature.com: “Although it has silver spots like the true fritillaries, the Gulf Fritillary is not closely related to them.”

What?? Why would you name something a Fritillary, when it's not actually a Fritillary? Or even closely related? I imagine it this way:

Scientist 1: "I know, let's call it the Gulf Fritillary. 'Gulf' because it's been seen flying toward the Gulf of Mexico, and 'Fritillary,' because...well, I don't actually know why."

Scientist 2: "Ha ha ha - I know exactly what you mean."

That's scientists for you....

Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

You Might Also Like

Blog Widget by LinkWithin