Monday, July 5, 2010

A butterfly mystery

A few nights ago, around 10, I was surprised to find some half dozen zebra longwing butterflies (Heliconius charithonia) fluttering around an outside light. Butterflies to the flame! Does anyone know why they would do that?

11 comments:

Rainforest Gardener said...

Most insects are drawn to lights, butterflies included! When they catalogue insects in the rainforest, they collect them by shining lights and attracting butterflies too!

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks, Steve. I didn't know that. Still, I wonder why I've not seen it before ...

Susan said...

I didn't think butterflies flew at night, but I can see how they might be attracted to a light. Very strange, indeed!

Penny McCrea said...

Hey, Susan. Yep, it is weird.

Grower Jim said...

The Zebras have mysteriously disappeared from my garden this year. Usually I have dozens of them flitting about, all summer long. This year... none! I still have a plentiful supply of other species of butterflies though.

Kimberly said...

I've not seen butterflies at night either, but Steve's explanation makes sense. Beautiful, aren't they?

Floridagirl said...

Hmmm...that is a sight I've never seen. I'll have to check my lamp posts at night. Beautiful shot of the zebra!

NanaK said...

I've never seen such a sight either. I did see the first zebra longwing in my garden just today. They were plentiful last year and have been conspicuously absent this year. Maybe I should have been checking my porch lights at night :)

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks for all your comments. I'm still hoping someone will come up with an answer. And BTW, I notice that the zebras aren't out and about when the weather is very overcast. Hmmm.

MrBrownThumb said...

Not sure what kind of butterfly it is but it sure is striking. I've never seen one like that in my garden before.

Penny McCrea said...

Hey, MBT. Florida's state butterfly. Also found in southern Texas, apparently, but not in Chicago. :)