Iridescence in a Shaft of Light
January 17th, 2010
Early mornings this week were so chilly, that I took long walks
vast private Maya Jungle Reserve to keep warm and sat in the
rising sun when I could. One morning deep in the forest as I
searched for a shaft of light to sit in a flash of iridescent
blueness detonated on the forest floor where a little sun-fleck
came and went as tree branches above shifted in the wind. In
such chill gloom, "detonated" is the right word, for the color
and brightness were shocking, simply stabbing into my
crept toward where the flash had come from, quietly parting
undergrowth so as to frighten nothing away. At first the forest
floor remained dark, but then a breeze shook a tree limb and
again the flash exploded right below me, then growing dark
again. The next time the sun-fleck blinked on, my camera was
focused on the spot, and that was fortunate, for exactly as I
snapped the picture my quarry took wing.
Mexican Bluewing butterfly, Myscelia ethusa,
is a tropical species distributed from Colombia through Central
America and Mexico; periodically straying across lower Rio
Grande into extreme southern Texas. The Mexican Bluewing is
related to North America's Admiral Butterflies.
Adult butterflies eat rotting fruit and rest on tree trunks with
their wings closed, exposing undersides that camouflage them as
tree bark. No amount of simple information, however, could offer
anything like the pleasure of being introduced to the Mexican
Bluewing as I was that morning.
In this sparkling, animated world
I sat unmoving, dark and quiet. The moment lasted for less than
ten minutes. Then the temperature must have risen, lowering the
relative humidity so that my breath no longer formed fog, and
dew burned off the landscape.
In such a brief time the grass
and weeds lost their sparkling dewdrops, spider-webs ceased
their shining, and the butterfly just like the birds moved on.
The landscape assumed the somberness that until then only I had
Standing, looking around, suddenly I realized that the light and
movement and music weren't gone at all, but that rather they had
been imparted into me. In fact, all day long I carried within me
that morning's rising sun. Everything I did I did buzzing inside
with clouds of radiantly charged spirit, being translucently
satisfied with things as they were.
I hope that in your own life you have a time and a place where
on chilly mornings you can warm yourself in the rising sun, and
receive those gifts of Nature that are freely given.
US Naturalist supporting the Maya Foundation In Laakeech
Environmental Volunteer Programs and the Green Awareness
programs of Hacienda Chichen Resort in
Some Facts about Mexican Bluewing
Mexican Bluewings are
Forewing apex is truncated. Upperside has iridescent blue and
black bands; outer half of forewing has large white spots. Wing
span is 2.5 to 3 inches wide.
Young caterpillars rest in perches attached with dung pellets
and silk to a leaf vain; their favorite host plant is a tall
wild bush: Casey Adelia, Adelia vaseyi.
Myscelia ethusa adults rest on tree trunks with wings closed
exposing the underside of their wings which mimic tree bark.
Caterpillars and adult butterflies are protected at Hacienda
Chichen's private Maya Jungle Nature Reserve and can be observe
during winter months in the dry scrub or scattered tropical
their small size, butterflies and moths are some of the world's
most wondrous animals. Their beauty, seemingly miraculous
metamorphosis, and apparently carefree flight all spark our
imagination and inspire us to protect and respect our
Life Cycle of Butterflies:
As advanced insects, butterflies
(as well as moths) have a four separate stage life cycle; each
stage has its own particular purpose and life form:
butterfly eggs are
tiny (round, oval or cylindrical shaped) usually have fine ribs
and microscopic structures. The mature butterfly female
attaches her eggs to leaves, stems, and areas near the intended
caterpillar food supply; thus, to have a butterfly garden, it is
ideal to plant "cartepillar food" plants as well as "butterfly
Caterpillar (or Larva) is
the long, worm-like stage of a butterfly. Each butterfly has its
own shape and interesting outer decor color and texture pattern
(strips, patches, sine like hairs, etc.) As the
caterpillar grows, it sheds its skin four or more times so as to
enclosed its rapidly growing body; caterpillars are the growth
and feeding stage of the butterfly's life cycle.
(or Pupa) is the transformation
life cycle stage of this marvelous inscets, within which the
caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's
structure are formed. The Chrysalis of most butterfly species is
brown or green and blends into the background. Many
species overwinter in this stage.
(or Imago) is when reproductive and mobile stage: the beautiful
butterflies life cycle. Adult butterfly stage is also when
the species migrates or colonizes new habitats.
Butterflies normally feed on nectar and rotten fruits.
Mexican Bluewing full life cycle shown
Learn more about
Yucatan's Wildlife at
Hacienda Chichen's private Maya
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services in Yucatan are invited to email us a
request for us to
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if your hotel
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will include it among our selected list of best accommodations in
the our eco-travel Yucatan today website.
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