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Fatal Attraction
Some creature uses all their power of attraction to capture their prey.
 
Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula
a predatory carnivorous plant that
digest insects, a native of North Carolinas (USA), it produces delicious sweet-smelling sap to attract insects.

Butterfly emerging from cocoon
Monarch Butterfly emerging from chrysalis (cocoon) and it will soon start looking for food.

The Monarch butterfly seeing some ants enjoying the delicious sweet-smelling sap--fly in for a share and was caught when the trap snap shut, triggered by touch on any 2 small hairs within the plant.
Butterfly captured by venus fly-trap

   


 

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  Venus flytraps are plants that absorb nutrients from gases in the air and the soil, as well as digest various small insects like; flies, spiders, bees and an occasional Monarch butterfly.

Once an insect is captured, the plant closes its trap tightly around the meal and bathes it in digestive juices that dissolve the insect. Digestion takes five to 12 days, after which the trap reopens and the insect remains (skeleton/shell) are washed away by rain or by wind "notice a spider trapped within its jaws".

 
 
The Venus flytrap exhibit one of the fastest movements in the plant kingdom, its one of the plant kingdom's fastest and most ferocious movements: at the blink-of-an-eye--it can snap its v-shaped clamshell leaves around an insect in less than  one-tenth of a second and snaring a fly.

The secret has been revealed

Venus flytrap--unlike animals--have no muscles or brains--and plants are not known for their ability to move quickly, as a team of scientists and engineers point out in the Jan. 27 issue of the journal Nature--The secret  revealed:

The flytrap's leaves snap from convex to concave the same way that a contact lens can flip inside out; said the scientists.
To be considered carnivorous, a plant must attract, capture, kill and digest insects or animal life.

Wild Venus flytrap plants tends to deploy their wide hart shaped leaves just like solar panels which grab energy, by making the leaves wide during the time when the plant can take more energy from less light.

And when the sun is at its strongest position--it can deploy its long slim leaves to stand out from the grass and be seen by insects.

When the plant gets too much nourishment from the insects that it catches, it looses a lot of the red on its new growth and when the growth of the plant slows down by the lack of nourishment--it begins to deploy redder traps in full sun or during cooler weather.

The Venus flytrap plant maybe serving some sort of evolutionary process and further adaptation by evolving a mean to acquire a more attractive color in the traps which the plant uses to attract more insects.

  Venus flytrap produces delicious sweet-smelling
sap and the trap snap shut when triggered by touch
on any 2 small hairs within the plant.

A close-up inside the jaws of a Venus' Fly Trap, Dionaea muscipula. These trigger hairs signal the trap to close when two hairs are touched once or one hair is touched twice.

Normally, the trigger hairs are visible to the human eye, but the image above here has been enhanced and enlarged for you to spot them easily. The Venus' Fly Trap,  trap design makes it one of the most fascinating and famous carnivorous plants in the world and snap it clamshell leaves within one-tenth of a second.

During certain time of its biological stage when they came out of dormancy or during spring time, the Venus Flytrap plant losses almost all of the red. Some Venus Flytraps may have a lot of red in their traps regardless of seasons, it may due to influences of soil PH being more acidity or alkaline  that cause them to loose or increase their reddish color.

 

 

 

What do butterflies do when it rains?
And why butterflies are rarely seen when it rains?
Michael Raupp, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, offers this answer...

Imagine a monarch butterfly searching for nectar or a mate in a meadow on a humid afternoon in July. Suddenly, a fast moving thunderstorm approaches, bringing gusty winds and large raindrops.

For the monarch and other butterflies this is not a trivial matter. An average monarch weights roughly 500 milligrams and large raindrops have a mass of 70 milligrams or more.

A 70mg size raindrop striking a monarch would be equivalent to your or I being pelted by water balloons with twice the mass of bowling balls.

The Monarch is a poisonous butterfly. Animals that eat a Monarch get very sick (generally do not die), these animals remember that the brightly-colored "Monarch" butterfly made them very sick and learn to avoid them.

Many animals advertise their poisonous nature with bright colors... just like the monarch!
Monarch butterflies, like all butterflies, can only sip liquid food using a tube-like proboscis, which is a long, flexible "tongue."

This proboscis uncoils to sip food, and coils up again into a spiral when not in use. Monarchs drink nectar from many flowers, including milkweed, dogbane, red clover, thistle, lantana, lilac, goldenrod, etc.

A monarch butterfly flying away after feeding.
Some monarchs travel up to 5,000km in a
journey which is unique in the butterfly world.

Amateur and professional lepidopterists tell tales of butterflies darting into protective vegetations and scrambling beneath leaves when dark skies, strong breezes and the first raindrops signal an imminent storm. During heavy rains and wind, butterflies are rarely seen.

Not only does rain pose a direct threat of injury or death, but the cool air associated with storms may also reduce temperatures below the thermal threshold for butterfly flight.

In preparation for flights, these aerial acrobats expose their wings to direct sunlight, which rapidly warms their flight muscles. Overcast skies limit their ability to gather the solar radiation needed to take wind.

A butterfly knocked from the air by raindrops thus faces the double threat of crashing in an inhospitable habitat where predators lay in wait and being unable to warm its body sufficiently to regain flight. little wonder, then, that when skies darken, butterflies seek shelter in their night time homes.

Butterflies are quiescent when it is dark and take refuge in protected locations called roosts within one or two hours of sunset. Roosts may be tall grasses, perennial herbaceous plants, tangle leaves or woody shrubs, undersides of large leaves, caves or, in some cases, man made objects such as fences or hanging baskets.

Butterflies may also roost in the vegetation beneath overhanging trees. The leaves of t he upper canopy intercept raindrops and reduce their impact on vegetation and butterflies below.

Heliconius exhibits curious fidelity to roosts, often returning to the same location or individual plant for several nights.

When rain threatens, zebra butterflies enter their nocturnal roosts much earlier that they would on clear days. And, like us humans, they demonstrate considerable lethargy on rainy mornings, delaying their usual early departure by as much as several hours.

Usually long stretches of rainy weather may even reduce the population of butterflies in a roosting group, because cool temperatures hinder the mobility and therefore their ability to escape from predators.

Ultimately, what butterflies do in the rain is avoid a shower, they often resume patrolling and courting within minutes. So the next time the sky darkens and thundr  rumbles, take a cue from the butterflies. Find a safe roost out of the rain, but as soon as the sun returns, go out and enjoy - (c) 2006 Scientific American.
 

The monarch butterfly

They are sometimes called the "milkweed butterfly" because its larvae eat the plant. In fact, milkweed is the only thing the larvae can eat! If you'd like to attract monarchs to your garden, you can try planting milkweed.

Adult female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves. These eggs hatch, depending on temperature, in three to twelve days. The larvae feed on the plant leaves for about two weeks and develop into caterpillars about 2 inches long.
 

 



Monarch butterfly sipping honey from
Asclepias incarnata ssp pulchra  swamp
milkweed brilliant pink flowers are
sometimes
called the "milkweed butterfly" because its
larvae eat the plant.

 


Several species of neotropical butterflies,
such the zebra butterfly, Heliconius charitonius,
roost in the company of their peers.
Perhaps as a result of the good company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Monarch butterfly sipping honey from
Asclepias incarnata ssp pulchra swamp
milkweed brilliant pink flowers. They are
sometimes called the "milkweed butterfly"
because its larvae eat the plant.

Venus fly-trap
The monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack but seems to have no effect on the taste bud of the carnivorous Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula
Butterfly captured by venus fly-trap


Native to South Africa Swan Plant Asclepias fruticosa grows to be 4 to 6 feet tall with white and pink flowers that are followed by inflated seed pods.

 

After awhile, the caterpillars attach themselves head down to a convenient twig, they shed their outer skin and begin the transformation into a pupa (or chrysalis), a process which is completed in a matter of hours.

<<The pupa resembles a waxy, jade vase and becomes increasingly transparent as the process progresses. The caterpillar completes the miraculous transformation into a beautiful adult butterfly in about two weeks.
 

<<The Monarch chrysalis is one of nature's most beautiful creations.

<<This Monarch butterfly chrysalis wears a crown of gold on jade green.

About 24 hours before the emergence of the adult butterfly, the chrysalis becomes completely transparent, revealing the new butterfly inside.


<<The
Monarch butterfly finally emerges from the now transparent chrysalis. Breaking free of the chrysalis, a Monarch greets the world.

After struggling free of the chrysalis, the Monarch immediately begins to inflate its wings with a reservoir of fluid contained in its swollen abdomen.

As the wings inflate, the body of the butterfly attains its normal proportions. When the wings are fully inflated, the insect expels any excess fluid and rests.


<<In a few hours,
with its wings dried and hardened, the Monarch will take wing on its first flight.

It inflates its wings with a pool of blood it has stored in its abdomen. When this is done, the monarch expels any excess fluid and rests.

The Monarch butterfly waits until its wings stiffen and dry before it flies away to start the cycle of life all over again.

Many animals advertise their poisonous nature with bright colors... just like the monarch!

The toxins from the monarch's milkweed diet have given the butterfly this defense. In either the caterpillar or butterfly stage the monarch needs no camouflage because it takes in toxins from the milkweed and is poisonous to predators.

The Monarch is a poisonous butterfly. Most predators learned that the monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack, animals that eat a Monarch get very sick and vomit (but generally do not die).

These animals remember that this brightly-colored butterfly made them very sick and will them in the future.

Monarch butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton.

The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end). The four wings and the six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move.

The Monarch as a common poisonous butterfly that eats poisonous milkweed in its larval stage and lays its eggs on the milkweed plant. Monarchs have a wingspan of 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).
 

 

 

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Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Pupa

Life Cycle of a MONARCH butterfly

Butterflies undergo complete metamorphosis in which they go through four different life stages. It takes about a month for the egg to mature into an adult.

Egg - The Monarch starts its life as a ridged, spherical egg only l/8th of an inch long. The eggs are always laid singly, on the underside of milkweed leaves. The female attaches the egg to the leaf with a quick-drying glue which she secretes along with the egg. The egg hatches in about 3 to 5 days. A tiny wormlike larva emerges.

Larva - The larva (caterpillar) hatches from its egg and eats it. Then it eats milkweed leaves almost constantly. The caterpillar molts (loses its old skin) four times as it grows; after each molt it eats its old skin. When the larva is about 2 inches (5 cm) long, it will stop eating and find a place (like a protected branch) on which to pupate.

The caterpillar's first meal is its own eggshell. After that, Monarch caterpillars eat the poisonous milkweed leaves to incorporate the milkweed toxins into their bodies in order to poison their predators. Milkweed (genus Asclepius) is a common plant that contains toxins.

There are more than 100 species of this perennial herb, containing varying concentrations of toxic chemicals (glycosides). The Monarch is considered a beneficial insect because its caterpillar eats the noxious milkweed plant which invades some farms.
 

Caterpillar: The larva is banded with white/cream, black, and yellow stripes. It has three pairs of thoracic legs and five pairs of prolegs (which will disappear during the pupal stage).

It has 2 pairs of sensory tentacles, one pair on the head and another pair near the end of the abdomen.

Pupa - The caterpillar turns into a pupa (chrysalis). The caterpillar spins silk from its spinneret and attaches its hind end to a branch with the silk and small hooks in the anal prolegs. The monarch remains in its pupa for about 10 to 14 days.

It hangs head down and molts for the last time. When the newly-exposed skin dries and hardens, it takes the form of a jade green chrysalis.

During this stage the caterpillar turns into a butterfly as its entire body is reorganized. In about 10-12 days the chrysalis becomes transparent and a damp butterfly soon emerges.

Adult - A beautiful but damp Monarch adult emerges from the chrysalis. It pumps liquid into the wing veins to inflate them. They soon dry, but during this process, the butterfly is vulnerable to predators.

It can only eat liquids, which it does through its proboscis.

This adult will continue the cycle by reproducing. It takes about a month for the adult to develop (from egg to pupa to adult).
 

 


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Narcotic Spiked Poisonous snack

 


Fatal Attraction
A ferocious killing carnivorous flora



 

Acknowledgment, source of info for Tracking Monarchs butterfly, ED Stoddard--Reuters, 31st Oct 2006 The Star, Environment T9

Adult Monarch have no growth during the adult stage. The body is black with white spots. Their wings have white spots on outer margins, and three orange patches are found near the top of the forewings. The hind wings are rounded, and lighter in color than the forewings.

Monarchs are found all around the world
in sub-tropical to tropical areas. They are found in open habitats including meadows, fields, marshes, and cleared roadsides.

The life span of the adult Monarch varies, depending on the season in which it emerged from the pupa and whether or not it belongs to a migratory group of Monarchs.

Migratory Monarchs, which emerge from the pupa in late summer and then migrate south, live a much longer life, about 8-9 months.

Adults that emerged in early summer have the shortest life spans and live for about two to five weeks. Those that emerged in late summer survive over the winter months.


Butterfly tagging sheds light
on migrating monarch butterflies.

It is a delicate process but for Gayle Hall, "It's a labor of love: tagging monarch butterflies as part of a programmed to monitor the movements of one of nature's most celebrated migrants", she said.

Hall's tagged 80,000 to 100,000 butterflies yearly and they are released at an annual festival in the Texas city of Grapevine that honors the monarchs, famed for their overland migrations from Canada to Mexico and back again.

"Some monarchs travel up to 5,000KM in a journey which is unique in the butterfly world", said Chip Taylor--an insect ecologist at the University of Kansa who heads Monarch Watch monitoring programmed behind the tags. www.monarchwatch.org

Each tag is pressed onto the monarch wing and have a unique identification number and a toll-free phone number and email for contact. Most Monarchs are caught in the wild for tagging (some farmed by breeders), even reared ones instinctively join the migration which have hundreds of millions of butterflies heading south to their Mexican wintering grounds.

Taylor said; "The program in place since 1992 enable scientists to gather data and one certainty to emerge from the 14-year database was that monarch populations varied widely from year to year from weather-related factors. The populations which winter at several sites west of Mexico City are benchmark and counted by the 6.5 to 21 hectares they covered, each hectare is estimated to hold between 25 and 75 million monarchs".

The monarch butterflies have plenty of natural hazards en route including predatory birds. The autumn migration is the highlight of the cycle. The spring and summer migrations span generations in a gradual re-colonization of the northern territory before the last batch makes the long trek back to Mexico.

A monarch butterfly flying away after feeding.
Some monarchs travel up to 5,000km in a
journey which is unique in the butterfly world.

 

 
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