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Image contributed by U.K
photographer Michael Godfrey
Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Also known as the Sweet-oil Tiger or Lysimnia Tigerwing,
This butterfly is found in Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Uruguay.
They are primarily forest butterflies and can be found from sea level to as high as 3,000 feet (910 m), in rainforests and jungles.
Mature Mechanitis butterflies have warning colors which are black, orange, and yellow.
They also exhibit tiger patterns on their wings.
They get the name Mechanitis from their chrysalises, which have an almost mechanical quality.
They are thin and petite bodied, with rounded wings and long yellow antennae.
The size of the adult or Mechanitis butterfly wings are 65–75 mm / 2.5 - 3".
Scientists believe that chemical scent diffusion is influential in Mechanitis lysimnia mating.
When a male chases another butterfly with similar color patterns which is known to be a female, he will hover over it, fanning it with his wings from
front to back.
If the other butterfly is recognized to be a male, the pursuing butterfly will return to its original place.
If a female is receptive, they will try to mate.
If they are disturbed during mating, the female typically carries the male to another place to mate.
After mating, the butterflies separate and fly their own ways.
If a female is disturbed while laying her eggs on the upper side of a leaf, she will fly away but will return to the same leaf to continue ovipositing.
The chrysalises have a reflective chitin coating with a metallic appearance, which causes it to reflect the vegetation around it, making it less obvious, and thus less open to predation.
Being of the Brush Footed (Nymphalidae) family, they will use their front pair of legs for food tasting, and their two pairs of rear legs for propulsion.
Caterpillar diet: Solanum species
Adult diet: nectar from Eupatorium flowers
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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