Some of our spring days can be very hot and it’s not surprising that many animals can be seen drinking water. On 9 December, as I looked for the evidence of the Red-billed Curassow chicks that were seen a couple of months ago by a local farmer, I crossed the path with a couple of remarkable swallowtail butterflies.
They appeared to be drinking water from a little trickle that crossed the rocky road base from which they drank inbetween hastily fluttering up and down the short section of the road. Often the two butterflies met and with the appearance of being entwined spiralled up into the sky for some 20 feet to then fall apart and resume their road surface drinking.
These are Orange Kite-swallowtails Protographium thyastes and only seen at this time of the year. The caterpillars can be are found on Annonaceae, or the extraordinary custard apple trees as well as Lauraceaetrees.
These butterflies are fairly rare and they are characteristic of the low altitude vegetation of the Atlantic Forest. Mimicry is common in this species to confuse their predators. It’s great that the butterflies indicate the good state of the habitat at REGUA.
Considering their beauty, we certainly hope these butterflies can be seen more regularly at REGUA.