Friday greetings bug fans! Well, we had our first taste of snow for this winter and that’s rather sad. For most of the Entomological world, winter is the season for catching up on processing specimens, organizing your collection, researching some of the specimens you collected, or planning next year’s collecting trips. For some of the lucky people, there might be a winter trip to a tropical location where the bugs are always flying. As long as we’re thinking about a tropical location, someplace in the southern Pacific would be ideal. In most Entomology books the southern Pacific is split into two “regions”, the Oriental Region and the Australian Region. These areas are extremely interesting because of their diversity. Every island seems to have its own unique species. In fact, there are more Swallowtail butterfly species and subspecies in these two regions than in the rest of the world combined! And if Swallowtails are your favorites, then there is no more beautiful Swallowtail than Papilio ulysses, the Ulysses Swallowtail.
The Ulysses Swallowtail lives in Northern Australia, and on many of the southern Pacific islands in Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s common name is the Mountain Blue Swallowtail. It is simply spectacular. Ulysses has a broad jet-black border, with large tails on the hind wings, and the most incredible iridescent blue covering the central 60% of the wings. The blue shifts from greenish-blue to purplish-blue depending on your viewing angle, and is instantly recognizable from a long distance away. Ulysses has an average 4 to 5 inch wingspan and a classic Swallowtail wing shape. As with most butterflies, the males are brighter colored and more intense. The female Ulysses has a wider black border and the blue is not as iridescent. The underside looks like many other Swallowtails from this region, with a dark greenish-brown shaded appearance overall with some crescent shaped border markings – perfect for camouflage in the forest. Ulysses is also interesting because it has many subspecies with some islands evolving their own unique variations. We have posted pictures of a couple of the main subspecies. The Ulysses Swallowtail butterfly is used as the emblem for Queensland, Australia’s tourism department.
The Ulysses Swallowtail is one of the older known butterfly species and was described in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) who is generally considered to be the Father of Taxonomy (species classification and naming system). In those days butterflies were classified by their external characteristics rather than by internal characteristics or genetics as they are classified today. But despite this simplistic understanding of insect biology, the Ulysses Swallowtail is so distinctive that it cannot be confused with any other species. Caterpillars of Ulysses are somewhat typical for Swallowtails. They are light green with yellow markings. They feed on several plants, some of which are in the citrus family. Ulysses Swallowtails are protected species in some areas, but there is really no reason to be. In areas where they have become scarce, it is mostly due to loss of caterpillar food plants. Almost all of the Ulysses Swallowtail butterflies used in framed artwork, or seen alive in butterfly house exhibits, are raised on butterfly farms. Ulysses Swallowtails are easily one of the top 10 most popular butterflies, and once you see one, you’ll know why.
We always have Ulysses Swallowtails featured in our Wonders Of Nature department. And they are also highly popular in our butterfly wing jewelry. We have a beautiful framed individual specimen in our hardwood frame with gold-edged matte for $75. We also have them included in our double-glass collage frames. Their incredible beauty will make them a wonderful focus of attention in any room in your house. They are truly special. And we also have several sizes of sterling silver pendants with Ulysses wings, starting at $39. You’ll find them to be a versatile, beautiful and a distinctive addition to your jewelry wardrobe. Ulysses Swallowtails are a must have for any collection, and now is the perfect time for you to get yours before the Christmas rush!!! Don’t miss seeing this beautiful butterfly on your next visit to D&M Perlman.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Flyers. We love sharing our interest in butterflies and insects with you. Please enjoy the photos we have posted with this week’s edition, and be sure to see all the previous pictures in our Friday Flyers album.
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