Wing­ing it

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

PORT Dou­glas res­i­dent Cathy Nutt’s sharp- eyed lens last week cap­tured the mo­ment when two red lacewing but­ter­flies ( Cethosia cy­dippe) hatched at the same time on the same leaf.

Mrs Nutt was the cre­ator of the Port Dou­glas State School But­ter­fly Friendly Gar­den some years ago and this is where this photo was taken.

‘‘At the top of the first pupa (chrysalis) you can see the head of the cater­pil­lar left over from it pu­pat­ing into a but­ter­fly re­main­ing there as the but­ter­fly has emerged,’’ she said.

‘‘ The chances of tak­ing photo are slim. A lot of the pupa just don’t hatch and some but­ter­flies emerge mal­formed.’’

The red lacewing but­ter­fly laid its eggs on the spe­cially planted Ade­nia het­ero­phylla vine and a huge con­gre­ga­tion of black hairy cater­pil­lars with yel­low stripes hatched out.

‘‘Af­ter eat­ing all the leaves of this large vine the cater­pil­lars formed their dark brown pupa which had glit­ter­ing gold mark­ings on them,’’ she said.

‘‘ One week later the red lacewing but­ter­flies ap­peared and I was lucky enough to cap­ture this photo which hap­pened right out­side the ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing en­trance for all the staff and stu­dents to see.

‘‘ There were many red lacewing but­ter­flies for all to en­joy in the school’s but­ter­fly friendly gar­den and still is to­day.’’

The school but­ter­fly friendly gar­den is now in its sixth year. The red lacewing but­ter­fly is one of eight species of trop­i­cal but­ter­flies which have hatched out in the school gar­den.

But­ter­flies are ap­par­ently an­ces­tral and do re­turn to the same gar­den to lay eggs. Ev­ery plant in the gar­den has a pur­pose in at­tract­ing the but­ter­flies and moths.

‘‘Rais­ing but­ter­flies is one of the most ef­fec­tive, hands-on ways for adults and chil­dren to learn about en­to­mol­ogy, ur­ban con­ser­va­tion and the joy of gar­den­ing,’’ Mrs Nutt said.

She in­vites those in the com­mu­nity who would like to help main­tain the Port Dou­glas State School But­ter­fly Friendly Gar­den and learn all about how it hap­pens to please con­tact her on 4099 3356.

Pic­ture: CATHY NUTT


the red lacewing but­ter­flies

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