Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have You Seen This New Butterfly in Auckland?

On 15 January 2011 an unusual butterfly was seen fluttering around and  feeding on Agapanthus flowers in an Epsom garden.  It was clearly one of the swallowtail butterflies in the genus Papilio of which there are many species throughout the world but none in New Zealand…until now! 
It was seen briefly up close but it was not able to to be captured for an an accurate identification.  It was similar in general colour and appearance to the one pictured here but there are many species that look much like this and the differences between them can be subtle.   Slightly smaller than a monarch and being much paler in colour  (a nice creamy lemon) with contrasting oblique black bands across the forewings made it stand out from a distance.   Its flight is more swift than the lazy lolloping flight of a monarch.   

What species of Papilio is it?  Where did it come from?  How did it get here?  Is it established and breeding here?  Is there only one or are there more?  Is it only in Auckland or also in other parts of NZ as well?  Your help is vital in answering these questions.
If you see a butterfly looking like this please contact John Early at Auckland Museum (Email.  Tel. 09 306 7042) with details of where and when you saw it.   An actual specimen to confirm the record is needed, failing that a good photo. 

Four Europeans got into a discussion on whose language was the most eloquent and pleasant sounding.

The Englishman said: "English is the most eloquent language. Take for instance the word "butterfly". Butterfly, butterfly... doesn't that word so beautifully express the way this delicate insect flies. It's like flutter-by, flutter-by."

"Oh, no!" said the Spaniard, "the word for "butterfly" in Spanish is "maripose". Now, this word expresses so beautifully the vibrant colours on the butterfly's wings. What could be a more apt name for such a brilliant creature? Spanish is the most eloquent language!"

"Papillon!" says the French linguist, "papillon! This word expresses the fragility of the butterfly's wings and body. This is the most fitting name for such a delicate and ethereal insect. French is the most eloquent language!"

At this the German stands up, and demands: "Und vot is rongk mit 'SCHMETTERLING'?"

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