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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Hopping Around Butterflies

I entered the closed area filled with flora and fauna, hundreds of butterflies, each one more beautiful than the other, all shapes and sizes and of different designs, all fluttered around me at the ‘Butterfly Center’ The temperature was just right ( 25-29 degrees centigrade and 80% relative humidity) and a soft music played in the background. I stretched my hand and one butterfly came to rest on my hand, “Leave it free, if you touch it, it will die the next day, Butterflies are very fragile, you must not disturb it while they are feeding on flowers” said the supervisor. I let it free after few moments of bliss.

‘Butterfly Center’ is just opposite my shop at Icod de los Vinos and many tourists visit it everyday. I remember one day, a lady had entered my shop to buy a souvenir, as soon as she opened her purse to pay, one large beautiful butterfly escaped from her purse and flew around me. I saw her look and realized that she had stolen it.

Indeed, Butterfly center had beautiful butterflies. They have many species directly imported from special breeding centers (Malaysia, Philippines, Costa Rica,  Australia, etc.)

I pointed to this one and asked her, where was this one from, and she said “India” Ah well!

The dust that covers the butterfly wings is actually tiny scales that give color and design to the wings. These scales give the name to the butterfly (Lepido=scale, and petron=wings). There is no other insect that has got scales.

One of the women had one particular species of butterfly surround and follow her wherever she went. She was curious as to why that particular species followed and not the others, on enquiring the attendant, she was told that they followed one particular type of scent. I asked her what cream she applied and she said that she used Aloe vera products. (no wonder!)

Butterflies mainly feed on the flowers’ nectar. They also like to suck on ripe fruit juices, as well as trees’ sap and even animal secretion such as tears or urine, from which they obtain salts and minerals.

There were tortoise, fishes and reptiles too. The children were more amused with that, so while they chased the butterflies, they stood to gape at animals too.

I had never seen so many butterflies under one roof. I was filled with awe and waited at one spot, still and quiet, almost holding my breath, hoping that many butterflies would surround me too.

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