Butterflies. There’s something otherworldly in them. They’re beautiful and scary at the same time. Butterflies seem as light as the wind, which blows them around. But if you look them close up, they’re hairy little creatures with long legs, long feelers and absolutely huge eyes. Compared to its body, butterfly’s wings are XXL size.
Author: Stefan Casta & Emma Tinnert
Publisher: Mäkelä 2014, Finland (the Finnish edition)
Original language: Swedish
Despite these thoughts, I find butterflies fascinating and amazingly beautiful. They have body colours that are hard to find in any other creature on earth. What’s more, their life cycle would be science fiction if it wasn’t real world: from eggs to caterpillars, to chrysalis, to an adult butterfly.
Stefan Casta & Emma Tinnert have created a book that presents the most interesting Scandinavian butterfly species. It also tells the basics of the butterfly physiology. Did you know that butterflies hear with their hairs and smell with their feelers? Their large wings are like solar panels. Before a butterfly can fly, it has to warm up. In sun butterfly’s body temperature can be even 15 degrees higher than the air temperature. This makes it easy for its flying muscles in the centre of the body to speed up to flight.
This summer my attention is drawn to one particular butterfly species: Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus). It was voted as the national butterfly of Finland earlier this year. There are three different subspecies of the Common Blue. Most of them are of a beautiful blue shade, but some individuals are brown. I’ve yet to see this butterfly in the nature. It is a somewhat small butterfly – wing span of 21-33 mm, so it takes a sharp eye to spot it in the meadows where it lives.
No butterflies? Grow them on your backyard!