Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The Glassy Tiger is a common butterfly found at an altitude of up to 5000 feet, over most of the island. More info on the butterfly and the image inside.
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With a wingspan of 65-80mm it is the slowest of the Danaids. It spends much of its time between 5 and 10 feet and rarely flies up into the canopy. It is the most shade loving of all the Danaids and is frequently seen nectaring on flowers in the undergrowth. It has a chemical defense that protects it against predators. When handled, it plays dead and emits a foul smelling substance. The sexes are similar.
The male has scent patches on the hind wing. The pouch shaped patch on vein 1 is larger than the pouch on vein 2. Both are more swollen and visible on the underside than on the upper side. The markings on the Glassy Tiger are uniformly grey. It is also the smallest butterfly in the group.
The Glassy Tiger is similar to the Blue Tiger, Dark Blue Tiger, Female Dark Wanderer and the Common Mime.
The fact that it is slow in flight probably helped me when it came to capturing the image above. I followed it as it settled on a number of different flowers until I finally got the shot I was after. I used the 100-400mm lens for this and therefore I didn't have to get too close to it. I came across this butterfly in the middle of the afternoon which is probably the worst time to photograph Butterflies. The best time to photograph them is early morning before they "warm up" in the sun and become more active. Make sure that your shadow does not fall on the subject when you approach it as that tends to disturb them.
I've got more shots of this butterfly at http://devwijewardane.blogspot.com/2010/04/glassy-tiger.html