these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have
freshly sliced the April mire."
Frost, "Blue-Butterfly Day"
The "Greta Oto" is a brush-footed butterfly,
and is a member of the clearwing family with transparent wings. Its
most common English name is Glasswing, and its Spanish name is Espejitos,
which means "little mirrors." Indeed, the tissue between the
veins of its wings looks like glass. Native
to Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, the glasswing butterfly is usually observed
feeding or flying high in the subcanopy of the tropical forest in the Andes Mountains.
things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed; often that which
is unnoticed has the most power. Rivaling
the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing
butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green,
and red. Members of the
species frequently inhabit elevations of approximately 1,400 meters.
adapted to the Andean climate and elevation, Glasswing butterflies seem incessant
in their zigzagging pursuit of flower nectar. Members of the species do not like
to rush their meals and may spend hours on a single flower bloom while nectaring.
A particular favorite of adult Glasswings is the flowering jungle cucumber vine.
Glasswing caterpillars, however, are not such dainty eaters. The larvae rapaciously
munch on the leaves of plants, including the deadly nightshades, oleanders, and
dogbane. From the poisonous food plants, the Glasswing larvae gather toxic alkaloids,
which make them unpalatable to predators.
delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used
by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality ... and its
demise alerts them of ecological change. When human populations grow,
butterfly populations tend to shrink.
As part of the growing international trade of butterflies, specimens are often
taken from the wild, but, fortunately, may also be cultivated for sale on butterfly
ranches. Intensive use of agrochemicals for farming in the Andes greatly
threatens the Glasswing species and its associates. Other activities that make
room for man, such as extensive logging and coal mining, also devastate the crucial
habitat of the Glasswings. Thus,
the future of the exotic Glasswing butterfly is uncertain.
evolution of the word butterfly came from the
Old English term buttorfleoge
literally saying "the butter flies" apparently
because butterflies were thought to steal milk. In
some cultures the butterfly can symbolize transformation or rebirth into a new
life after being inside a cocoon-like existence for a while.
One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches
behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you.
In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together is a symbolism for a loving
couple, as related in a famous Chinese folk story called Butterfly Lovers
(a Chinese Romeo and Juliet). The
Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu once had a dream of being a butterfly flying around
without any cares about humanity. When he woke up and realized it was just a dream,
he thought to himself "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly,
or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"
more trivia go HERE.)
by Gabrielle who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico)