I am indeed lucky to have a balcony with a lovely view. The green foliage around my house includes trees such as the African tulip , Copper pod , mahogany , Champaka embedded with an array of colorful Bougainvilla bushes offer a good peep into the urban wildlife around me.The resident pair of squirrels keep me entertained with its antics. A tailor bird pair comes and nests in my balcony every year . A family of red whiskered bulbuls regularly visit the copper pod tree . After a hectic morning routine I unwind myself by sipping green tea and gaze at the greenery for about an hour before resuming the regular routine again. On one such morning I found a Tailed jay butterfly hovering around the Champaka (Michaelia champaka ) tree , its larval host plant. I was thrilled to see it laying its egg. It is indeed amazing to know that the tailed jay always chose the most tender leaves at a height on trees to lay its eggs thereby ensuring that they will not get eaten by browsing herbivores. Female butterflies often spend long periods probing about with the tips of their abdomens, being extremely careful about the positioning of each individual egg.
I was keeping a watch on the place where it had laid its egg. Next day I found the Electricity board people had cut down the branch where the egg was laid. They had cut the branch as it was near an electric cable. I usually do not raise butterflies from eggs as the probability of success is really bleak. I had to carefully look for this and bought this egg home.
You have to really see to believe that a caterpillar emerges from this tiny egg whose size can be compared to that of a pepper corn. During the time from hatching to pupation, a caterpillar increases its body size more than 30,000 times.
Butterflies and insects have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, called the exoskeleton. This protects the insect and keeps water inside their bodies so they don’t dry out.
On observation it has been found that Tailed jay (Graphium_agamemnon) adults frequenly visited flowers (12-35 flowers in a min) spending 1.0 to 3.2 seconds on a flower. Being a fast and strong flier it is treated as “high energy” pollinator promoting cross-pollination. Due to this fact it is very difficult to have a decent click of this butterfly. Rearing this butterfly is one way where we can get good clicks of this butterfly
It is amazing to see the symmetry in the wing patterns ,every dot on the left wing is exactly matched by the a similar dot on the right. It is an exhilarating experience to see this butterfly face to face .
The following links show how Scientists have replicated the iridescence of a butterfly’s wing on bank notes , thereby preventing forgery .