The Beautiful Adonis Blue Butterfly
The Adonis Blue
Bertie: “Cor. I dunno. First of all, Bobby says he wants to tell the story of a beautiful butterfly. Then he asks bleedin Trevor to write it! I mean!”
Trevor: “Look, Bertie. Let’s be perfectly honest. You do write most of the stories.”
Bertie: “It’s my bleedin blog!”
Trevor: “I know, Bertie. But here at Mindfully Bertie we are a team. We have specialists. Bobby knows I have an inquiring mind and like to delve into scientific things. Eamonn has a unique Irish outlook on everything. Betty Boop has been sadly neglected. And Bobby and Tim add their bits and pieces now again.”
Bertie: “All sounds a bit clever dick to me. Give me an example.”
Bertie: “What the ‘ell’s that?”
Trevor: “Read the story of the Adonis Blue and you will find out!”
The Adonis Blue.
We have featured Denbies Hillside in Mindfully Bertie many times. We have even shown you the wood sculpture that volunteer carpenter/sculptor Ian carved a few years ago. A sculpture describing the fascinating life story of the Adonis Blue in carved picture relief. But first and most important time-wise. The Adonis is currently flying in reasonable numbers on the hillside. Like many butterflies it’s lifespan is short and now is the time to have a look.
Trevor: “I do feel that this is an opportune moment for some definitions!”
Is the interaction between two organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
An Adonis is a very handsome man, especially a young one. Its origin is the god Adonis, in Greek mythology the eternally youthful god of beauty and desire. And now it is time to use the sculpture for what it was intended. Education.
So here is the life story of the Adonis Blue butterfly carved in relief.
The Adonis Blue lays its eggs under the leaves of the Horseshoe Vetch plant in May – June and August – September. The caterpillars can be seen during April and late July as they search for ants to “milk” their sugary secretions.
Soon after, the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis, when it is buried by the ants. For the next three weeks the ants are busy constantly attending to it and protecting it from predators.
And then one glorious day the chrysalis changes into the most glorious of butterflies. As befits an “Adonis”, only the male is blue. The female is brown. During its short life, the male cavorts around the hillside seeking females to mate with and continue the story for another year.
Here is the story of the sculpture:
Or for a more general view of Denbies Hillside, try this:
Like many species of butterfly, the Adonis Blue has undergone a major decline but, with our help – The National Trust, its volunteers and you – it is thriving on Denbies Hillside. It requires a very special habitat and that one food plant for its caterpillars. The Horseshoe Vetch. And that needs a south facing chalk downland, poor in resources but consequently rich in plant species that thrive in poor conditions.
There are many other butterflies on Denbies Hillside, with two significant “explosions” still to come. The Chalk Hill Blue and the Marbled White. When they appear, we will share them with you too.
But for now we treasure the Adonis Blue
We were all there, together with the hierarchy of the NT. When they were dispersing, a few of us suggested to Virginia that we walk a little way down the path to see if we could see an Adonis Blue. The weather was damp and overcast. It didn’t seem likely. But there, just off the path, was an Adonis. This one. The same as the first picture. It made her day. And ours.
To write this story, we have walked up to the hillside most days in the last week. Hot and sunny, the butterflies were particularly skittish and difficult to photograph. We managed a couple, but share with you the beauty of the hillside besides the butterflies.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley
We forgot the candle this morning, Diddley, but will never forget you. So please concentrate.
This apple is not an apple. It’s a candle. We will make up tonight and light a few.