Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Photo by Marty Horowitz 3/10/2014

Marty asks:

Marine Blues, above and below views, expired and floating in the Rattlesnake trail pothole - why?

Fred answers:

As to your question about why butterflies seem to be drowning themselves, I've never heard a completely satisfactory answer. In the late summer, we can sometimes find hundreds of butterflies in rocky pools like these in the mountains. Occasionally, we've seen butterflies fly to them to get water and misjudge where the edge is.
Once a number of butterflies are trapped it may be that others follow thinking it is a the place to be. A few times, I've seen a praying mantis surrounded by the wings of many butterflies all of the same species. Once the mantis consumes one, leaving the wings on the ground, other butterflies of the same species are naturally attracted to the spot - to their doom.
Finally, some folks have suggested that the butterflies see the reflection of the sky and don't realize it is actually water. The fact is that no one knows for sure and it could be a combination of any or all the above explanations or none of these. In my next life, it will certainly be the subject of a doctoral dissertation for me.

 Anne says: I look forward to reading that one!

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