This is going to be another Butterfly post concerning the Small Tortoiseshell.
I was out yesterday taking photographs when I was accosted by yet another Aglais urticae, “Take my picture.” These have been by far the most common butterflies around here this year.
A little while later she started making a mess on the table.
Don’t be alarmed, that fluid is what she used to inflate her wings. Once the wings are fully inflated she drains off any excess. It takes quite a few hours for her wings to inflate and harden and she has to be left to hang there and let everything happen as it should.
Now just like the other two she was reluctant to let go. Something new was happening. There was a slight breeze and I could see the air flowing across her wings and moving them gently She has only ever flown inside and it must be very different to have to master the air currents.
I was in no hurry.
You would be excused for thinking that this butterfly has four legs, two on each side. In fact she is just like all other insects and she has six legs.
She belongs to a family called the Nymphalidae or Brush-footed Butterflies. They don’t use their front two legs for walking. The front legs are very hairy. You can see them in this next picture and if you can’t then clasp your hands behind your neck, now can you see them?
Maybe she will be one of those animals that pesters me in the field this afternoon.
It has been great having them live with me.