De rerum: an acknowlegement and explanation.
INDEX: Linnaean

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bicyclus safitza

The Common Bush Brown, and one of the most common butterflies in our garden.
For a short period it was revised to Bicyclus denina denina (Godart, 1824) [Lamas, 2010]but now back to its time honoured name.
It could be found in our garden for most of the year. In the wsf., the underside ocelli are large and bold, in the winter form they are insignificant. Sean Carroll gives an excellent description of the epigenetics of the spots of B. anynana (a close cousin of this butterfly) in the chapter How the Butterfly got its Spots in his book Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Well worth the read.
The female is a lighter beige as compared with the male's darker colour.
To me the most remarkable picture is at bottom. Despite being so common this is the only time that I have seen this butterfly with its wings spread (c.f. Henotesia perspicua which does this often). This male settled on the hearth in our house one evening and dispayed all his sexuality: The scent glands on the fore-wings, and the hair pencil emerging from the base of the hind wing: spraying pheremones far and wide. For more on this see The use of chemical and visual cues in female choice in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana by Katie Costanzo and Antónia Monteiro.

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