Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Common Mormon Butterfly and Madagascar Periwinkles

The Common Mormon Butterfly (Papilio polytes) is a common swallow-tailed butterfly. This butterfly is known for the polymorphic forms (mimicry) displayed by its females which mimic the Red-bodied Swallowtails, considered to be inedible.
This is the Common Mormon female, form stichius. The females have numerous forms, thus the Mormon appelation, a reference to the community's polygamy practice. This female form of the Common Mormon closely mimics  the Common Rose (Atrophaneura aristolochiae). They have a fondness for Madagascar Periwinkles (Catharanthus roseus).

This large periwinkle bush is a volunteer plant thriving at the base of a container-bound Bougainvillea which was planted as a standard.

Madagascar Periwinkles - magenta petals with white centres

Madagascar Periwinkles - chilly red petals with white centre.

Madagascar Periwinkles - magenta petals with crimson centres.

The Lesser Gull butterfly (Cepora Nadina) can be seen surveying the spread of the feast laid out.

I was just wondering whether this caterpillar is dead or in the process of turning into a pupa. I forgot to follow up. It appears to be hung up to be dried off. Two ripe seed pods can be seen to the left of the caterpillar.

They are so ubiquitous that wherever the seeds fall, they self-seed.

Madagascar Periwinkles - uncomplicated with pure white petals. This is the type that has been popularly touted as having anti-cancer properties.


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