Sunday, September 28, 2014
I had a day off Friday, which meant I had to do laundry, but also that I had the leisure to walk to the grocery store, instead of driving, for a bottle of bleach. And that, in turn, meant that I was a scarce hundred yards from my apartment when I came upon what was left of a Great Purple Hairstreak cast away by the side of the road. Folks, the advertising is partly false on these. I would not argue with the great, at all, but "purple," is a stretch of the imagination. The bits I could see of the tops of the stiffening wings were close on the most beautiful royal blue that I ever saw. Being as it was a bleach-purchasing expedition, I hadn't taken taken the camera, but somebody on BugGuide has a decent picture of a still-living, if battered, specimen with the wings open. The last time I saw colours like that on a butterfly was in the rainforest exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium; according to Wikipedia, the Great Purple Hairstreak is "a common gossamer-winged butterfly species in parts of the United States." Common, says you? I repeat, that was the first one I had a good look at, though I had been hoarding the suspicion that I caught a glimpse of one on the wing a year or two back. Their host plant is, of all things, mistletoe. As I said to one of my kinfolk earlier this evening, that does leave one with the impression that poor, beautiful Baldr had the last laugh after all.