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A Rainbow of Butterflies

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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!

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Noriyuki Saitoh
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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Live Smarter
A Simple Way to Prevent Bed Bugs: Do Your Laundry While on Vacation
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Bed bugs are perhaps nature's worst house guests. Not only do they, y'know, feed on your blood while you sleep, but the critters also mysteriously sneak their way into our abodes without warning, only to turn around and invite all their friends over for a slumber party. Since they won't be dissuaded by an empty fridge or an expired HBO subscription, what steps can one take to ensure their home stays free of these dreaded visitors?

For starters, do your laundry while traveling, according to a new study spotted by Gizmodo. Published in the journal Scientific Reports, its authors found that bed bugs are twice as likely to convene on and inside tote bags with dirty clothes as those containing clean clothes. They discovered this after creating a mock bedroom with cotton laundry bags—one filled with "dirty" worn clothing, the other with clean items—and observing which of the two a cageful of unleashed bed bugs preferred.

Researchers know that bed bug populations have surged around the world thanks in part to the rise of cheap air travel. They also have theorized that they're attracted to human scent, which can linger on clothing for at least a few days. Still, they didn't quite know how, exactly, the critters make the jump from the outside world and into our abodes—especially since these insects are relatively sedentary and rarely leave their feeding places. These new findings suggest that the bugs could be stowing away in attractive-smelling suitcases—which after traveling through hotels, airports, and taxis, end up right back in our bedrooms.

Since some bugs, like mosquitos, are attracted to carbon dioxide (it indicates the exhalation of a nearby animal or human—a.k.a. a food source), researchers checked to see if increases of the gas made bed bugs more or less likely to congregate on the dirty laundry bags. This ended up prompting foraging behavior, but the insects weren't any more prone to hanging out on the soiled clothing heap than they were before. 

Keeping your luggage free of bed bugs while traveling can be relatively simple, study author William Hentley, an entomologist at the UK's University of Sheffield, told Science. Since not everyone has ready access to a washer and dryer on vacation, avoid the bugs in the first place by placing your suitcase atop the metal luggage racks commonly found in hotel rooms, even if you've already given the room a precautionary sweep. (Bed bugs can't climb up smooth surfaces.) If your room is sans rack, seal your dirty clothes inside an airtight bag to keep the insects from getting a good whiff, or wrap up your entire suitcase if it's frequently been home to unwashed garments in the past.

That said, not all is lost if you arrive home from a long vacation with a bag full of well-worn outfits. Take your clothes immediately to a washer/dryer and run them through a hot cycle. That should be enough to kill invading bed bugs before they've even had the chance to learn how comfortable your couch is.

[h/t Gizmodo]


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