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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Butterfly Love Story

I didn’t realize how amazing the butterfly world was until I witnessed this love story recently.

These swallowtail butterflies seemed to be fighting for nectar on a flowering tree. 

But watching carefully, that was far from the truth. In fact, only the female Great Mormon on the left was having her lunch, while the four male Great Mormon butterflies on the right were performing the famous “Mating Dance” in order to charm the female. 

Within minutes, two dominant males bullied away the others and started competing for the female.  

None of them was willing to give up this opportunity so both were dancing ever more vigorously.

However, the female seemed to be unimpressed. One of them soon gave up and left. 

But this determined male still carried on with even more energetic dance moves.

Once he realized that this strategy was not working, he decided to use force and started physical attacks. 


Fortunately (for the female), a nearby Common Mormon butterfly was not happy with the male’s behaviour and decided to interfere. 

Soon the male Great Mormon was chased away.

To my surprise, the Common Mormon butterfly (must be a male) started the mating dance himself, which was of course in vain. 

Clearly this male Common Mormon had mistaken the female Great Mormon as its own species.  The female, on the other hand, must have sensed the mistake perhaps through the pheromones released by him.  

Although a love story without a happy ending, it makes me wonder if we have given butterflies enough credit for their intelligence.  


YTSL said...

Lovely photos and interesting observations. How long did it take to observe and photograph all this, can you please tell me? :O

Marty said...

what a wonderful serie of images !
so beautiful ! love story like a fairy tale but , yes, without happy end !

John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

What a pleasure it must have been to be witness to this. She is quite striking. I'd be smitten too if I were a butterfly.

Bonnie K said...

Ok, you are amazing. How you got photos of that is beyond me. Great job, great narrative, and what patience you must have. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

Kirsti said...

Todella kauniita perhosia ja kiinnostava tarina, kiitos:)

diane b said...

An amazing series of photos and a knowledgable understanding of what was going on. I like the way the female didn't take any notice of the prancing males.

john said...

I can relate to those frustrated males. Incredible photos and narrative.

Irma said...

Beautiful pictures of butterflies.
Greetings Irma

Joe said...

I can see you are very passionate about wildlife photography. Great photos. Congrats.

Bob Bushell said...

I think the female Great Mormon was being a naughty tease. Great photographing anyway.

Giga said...

Jesteś niesamowity. Twój post o historii miłosnej motyli jest świetny.Dziękuję za kolejną wiedzę i wspaniałe zdjęcia. Pozdrawiam.
You are amazing. Your post about butterflies love story is great. Thank you for further knowledge and great pictures. Yours.

Friend of HK said...

To YTSL: Actually the whole event only lasted for a few minutes but I was watching them for about an hour.
Thanks for your interest in my blog.

Liz said...

Another beautiful butterfly post. I had no idea there were so many beautiful butterflies in Hong Kong. What a wonderful series!

Danielle v/d Horst said...

Ik heb genoten van al die prachtige vlinders een heleboel soorten ken ik niet groetjes Danielle