Thursday, September 13, 2012

Elephant Graveyards

Several years ago when we were having a great influx of Monarchs,  I found a collection of wings,  buried or left behind in the woodpile, all in one place.  It reminded me of elephants who, when they are about to die, head for a kind of dying ground, away from the others.
In this instance it seems that several butterflies had reached the end of their living, and all chose this one place to die.  I wondered then at the strength of those delicate wings, since the bodies had long disappeared but the wings were unfaded, in some cases almost perfect.

Today, digging up jonquil bulbs I found another batch of wings arranged in much the same fashion, under a butterfly bush.  at least five or six sets, all grouped in one small area.  What strength in those wings, to last even longer than a day...


  1. Never heard of this with butterflies. What a sight.

  2. I never have, either, but since the wings are all together in a loose group, it stands to reason that the very short life of a summer Monarch involves whichever 'group' they hatched from. And if you have five or six hatching in early summer, they live long enough to feed, mate, and lay their eggs,all at the same time; and then they die, not unlike spawning salmon.
    It's a bit unsettling, agreed.