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kottke.org posts about butterflies

Watch a Monarch Butterfly Swarm (Filmed by a Drone Disguised as a Hummingbird)

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2020

For an upcoming episode of a show called Spy in the Wild, PBS’s Nature used a tiny drone disguised as a hummingbird to capture footage of a swarm of half a billion monarch butterflies as they overwinter in Mexico. The butterflies pay the hummingbird robot little mind:

Hummingbird Drone

The monarch butterfly is under increasing pressure due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, driving down their population.

The current state of the smaller western population of monarchs that overwinter in California is more dire than their eastern counterparts. The western population crashed by 99% in the latest count, reaching a historic low of fewer than 30,000 butterflies for the second year in a row, down from 1.2 million two decades ago.

Both butterfly populations are below the threshold at which government scientists predict the migrations could collapse. Federal scientists estimate there is nearly a 60% chance the monarch’s spectacular, multigenerational migration in the eastern half of the country could completely collapse within the next 20 years.

(via @MachinePix)

The Microscopic Fabric of Butterfly Wings

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2018

Chris Perani

Chris Perani

Chris Perani takes macro photographs of the delicate microscopic makeup of butterfly wings. When you look at the thumbnails on his site, you almost can’t tell they aren’t woven rugs. The detail on these are incredible…here’s a closeup of the top photo:

Chris Perani

(via colossal)

Graffiti for butterflies

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 16, 2008

Butterfly graffiti directs migrating monarchs to urban food sources.

Monarchs regularly pass through wide swathes of human settlement as they migrate each year from wintering sites in Mexico to summering grounds in the United States and Canada. GFB is the equivalent of a fast-food sign on a highway, advertising rest stops (waystations) to monarchs traveling through the area.

Papalotzin is a project to follow the

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 14, 2005

Papalotzin is a project to follow the migration of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico in an ultralight airplane (they call it their big butterfly). They’ve made it as far as NYC so far and are blogging and taking pictures as they go. (via gurgly)

Butterfly team colors may discourage inter-species mating

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 25, 2005

Butterfly team colors may discourage inter-species mating and pave the way for the development of separate species. “This process, called ‘reinforcement’, prevents closely related species from interbreeding thus driving them further apart genetically and promoting speciation.”