The same butterfly as yesterday's image and only some minutes passed between the two photos. In this one I tried to capture the mornign-sunlight shining trough the wings. In this image you also can see the severe damage on one of the wings but as far as I could observe this was no problem for a normal flight. (All specimens I found on that day had some wing-damage - it must be a hard life as a butterfly....)
Males of this species have a typical mate-location behaviour called "Hill-topping ": males may be found flying to congregate at the top of hills, where they compete for the attention of passing females. Females, desirous of mating, fly up the hill. Males dash around the top, competing for the best part of the area - usually the very top; as the male with the best territory at the top of the hill would have the best chance of mating with the occasional female, who knows the "top male" must be strong and thus genetically fit. Many authors consider this as a form of lekking behaviour. Knowing this behaviour enlarges your chanses to find the species: search at the top of the hill !
In the morning, and again in late afternoon both sexes can be seen flying freely about their habitat, pausing regularly to nectar. When nectaring they often keep their wings constantly fluttering to prevent the weight of their bodies from dragging down on the fragile flowers. This fluttering behaviour is typical of all Papilioninae, wherever they occur in the world.
Image: Bassenge (BE) - 09/08/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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