A Rainbow of Butterflies

Butterflies come in all colors of the rainbow. It’s true, and if you don’t see a particular color, you can bet that someone else, somewhere in the world, will see that color. Take a look at some of the marvelous colors of butterflies.

1. Red

James St. John via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Behold, Cymothoe sangaris, or the red glider butterfly. It lives in the rainforest of several central African countries. If you do a Google search for the species name, most of the results will be stores that will sell you a mounted specimen. They are apparently hunted for their looks.

2. Orange

Harald Hoyer via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

This orange butterfly is male and he’s called The Cruiser (Vindula dejone erotella). We know he’s male because the female of this species looks nothing like this -females are kind of greenish-gray with a white sash. But they manage to recognize each other. The Cruiser is found in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

3. Yellow

Contact '97 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 

You see here the common grass yellow butterfly (Eurema hecabe), found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific. They are migratory, but normally stick to tropical regions.

4. Green

The Dido longwing butterfly (Philaethria dido) has striking bright green wings set off by black borders. This tropical butterfly ranges from Mexico to the Amazon, where it lives in the rainforest canopy.

5. Blue

Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Here is a lovely specimen of the Anatolian navy blue butterfly (Agrodiaetus actis). Unfortunately, it’s only found in certain regions of Turkey.

6. Purple

MONGO via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Although the species is the Eastern-tailed blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas), you can see that this little guy is clearly purple. A lovely shade of lilac. Eastern-tailed blue butterflies come in a variety of blues, plus purple, pink, and gray.

7. White

White is the combination of all colors, if you’re talking about light, or the absence of color, if you’re talking about paint. Shown here is a European cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae). They originated in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but are now found in North America, Australia, and New Zealand as well, probably introduced through caterpillars on imported vegetables. They feed on cabbage and various weeds of the mustard family.

8. Black

Glimmer721 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Black is the absence of color in light, or the combination of all colors in paint. Spicebush swallowtail butterflies (Papilio troilus) are large black butterflies that cover the eastern U.S. The black is a handy color, because these butterflies feed at night!

9. No Color

The real absence of color is transparency -no pigment at all. Then you’re talking about the glasswing butterfly (Greta oto). They are native to Central and South America, and feed off the nectar of rainforest flowers. We don’t quite understand how the membrane of its wings can be so transparent, but they are just as strong as any other butterfly wings.

Butterflies come in many other colors, too, like salmon, turquoise, and those lovely combinations of colors. Enjoy the butterflies in your flower garden this spring!

Finnish Food Company Launches The World's First Insect-Based Bread

A Finnish food company has created a protein-packed bread using an unusual natural ingredient: crickets. It's billed as the world's first insect-based bread to ever be sold in stores, according to Reuters.

In September 2017, Finnish officials approved the cultivation and sale of insects as food. But Fazer Food Services in Helsinki has been testing a bread that contained flour, seeds, and "flour" made from dried crickets long before than decision. The company waited for Finland to give bug food products the go-ahead before officially launching their product in late November.

"We wanted to be in the forefront of food revolution," said Markus Hellström, Fazer Bakery Finland's managing director, in a news release. Plus, he added, "Finns are known to be willing to try new things, and the Fazer Cricket Bread is an easy way to get a feel of food of the future."

A single loaf of cricket bread will set customers back nearly $5. Each contains around 70 crushed crickets, which are currently sourced from the Netherlands. Currently, there's not enough cricket flour for Fazer to conduct nationwide sales, so the company is rolling the product out in stages. Just 11 locations in the Helsinki metro area sell Fazer Cricket Bread right now, with plans to eventually offer it in all 47 Fazer in-store bakeries.

Cricket bread has more protein than the typical baked good, plus it's believed be more environmentally friendly to boot. And Fazer company officials believe that Finns, in particular, are willing to bite.

The world "needs new and sustainable sources of nutrition,” said Juhani Sibakov, Fazer Bakery Finland's director of innovation, in the statement. “According to research, of all the Nordic countries, Finns have the most positive attitudes towards insects.”

[h/t Reuters]

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Which Rooms In Your Home Have the Most Types of Bugs, According to Entomologists 

Insects can make any home their own, so long as it contains cracks, doors, and windows for them to fly, wriggle, or hitchhike their way in. And it turns out that the creepy crawlers prefer your living room over your kitchen, according to a new study that was recently highlighted by The Verge.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study looked at 50 homes in Raleigh, North Carolina, to measure their insect populations. Entomologists from both North Carolina State University and the California Academy of Sciences ultimately discovered more than 10,000 bugs, both alive and dead, and a diverse array of species to boot.

The most commonly observed bugs were harmless, and included ladybugs, silverfish, fruit flies, and book lice. (Luckily for homeowners, pests like bedbugs, termites, and fleas were scarcer.) Not all rooms, though, contained the same distribution of many-legged residents.

Ground-floor living rooms with carpets and windows tended to have the most diverse bug populations, as the critters had easy access inside, lots of space to live in, and a fibrous floor habitat that could be either a cozy homestead or a death trap for bugs, depending on whether they got stuck in it. The higher the floor level, the less diverse the bug population was, a fact that could be attributed to the lack of doors and outside openings.

Types of bugs that were thought to be specific to some types of rooms were actually common across the board. Ants and cockroaches didn’t limit themselves to the kitchen, while cellar spiders were present in all types of rooms. As for moths and drain flies, they were found in both common rooms and bathrooms.

Researchers also found that “resident behavior such as house tidiness, pesticide usage, and pet ownership showed no significant influence on arthropod community composition.”

The study isn’t representative of all households, since entomologists studied only 50 homes within the same geographical area. But one main takeaway could be that cohabiting bugs “are an inevitable part of life on Earth and more reflective of the conditions outside homes than the decisions made inside,” the researchers concluded. In short, it might finally be time to make peace with your itty-bitty housemates.

[h/t The Verge]


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