Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies
Jo Ann Tomaselli
Photograph - Photograph
Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies by Jo Ann Tomaselli
Imagine my surprise when a recent visit to a local butterfly farm, which I attended as a purely social event, yielded this lovely image!
I followed this pair of Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies as they hopped from flower to flower enjoying a lovely lunch. What I like about this capture is that you can see the distinct positions of the proboscis of each butterfly - one un-curled to eat and the other curled up to store nectar.
The butterflies proboscis consists of a pair of interlocking c-section channels that when linked together form a tube, much like a drinking straw. This tube can be coiled up like a spring for storage, or extended to enable the butterfly to reach deep into flowers to suck up nectar. Olfactory sensors near the tip of the proboscis and in the food canal, together with similar sensors on the tarsus and tibia of the legs, enable butterflies to "taste" nectar, pollen and minerals.
September 23rd, 2013
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