Now that the rains have been around for some time and the countryside has burst forth in greenery and flowers, the butterflies are having a field day. When the rain briefly stops, they come out, flitting from flower to flower and partaking of as much nectar as possible. The way they seem to be in a rush, it looks to me as if they are crying out to each other, ‘Hurry! Hurry! It’s gonna rain soon. Let’s fill up our tum-tums and vamoose before the rain hits!’
Among the different varieties that visit my locality is the striking looking specimen in the picture which goes by the name of Lime Butterfly, also Lemon Butterfly, Lime Swallowtail, and Chequered Swallowtail. The first three names tell us of the butterfly’s choice of host plants, namely citrus species such as the cultivated lime. The ‘chequered’ of course, is rather self explanatory if you notice the pattern on the wings.
Lime butterflies are perhaps the most widely distributed swallowtail butterflies in the world. They are considered invaders. It’s amazing how they have spread out. Apparently there were no lime butterflies in Borneo, for example, and now lime butterflies are pretty common. You bet its because they, the butterflies, listened to mom and drank up all the milk… ummm, I mean ate all those greens as caterpillars, and grew up to be strong enough to fly and go where their dreams took them.
Guess what, these lovely creatures have a strong preference in flower color. Yup, no kidding! Blue and purple are their passion. Yellows are passé. But, do you know what I like best about these butterflies? They have tolerance and adapt (to different habitats). More than half the humans I know can’t do any adapting. They whine and crib (on social media and elsewhere) about the world changing and having to keep up with the no-good next generation or some such nonsense. Such bores. Yawn!
It is a pity though that lime butterflies are considered pests and an invasive species by humans in many parts of the world. Sigh. Oh well. They are welcome in my garden any day 😉
©Shail Mohan 2018