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Paros Butterflies


T H E B U T T E R F L I E S

THE SCIENTIFIC NAME OF OUR BUTTERFLIES IS PANAXIA QUADRIPUNCTARIA OF THE FAMILLY ARCTIIDAE IT DIFFERS FROM OTHER BUTTERFLIES IN THAT IT IS A NIGHT BUTTERFLY OR MOTH ,BUT TOGETHER WITH OTHER SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES IS A MEMBER OF THE LEPIDOPTERA FAMILY.

THE VALLEY IN WHICH YOU FIND YOURSELF HAS ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN AS « PETALOUDES » AS IT IS IN GREEK. IT IS A VERITABLE OASIS AS WATER COMES INTO THE VALLEY FROM A NATURAL SPRING ALL THE YEAR AROUND. THIS CONTINUOUS WATER HAS RESULTED IN ALL MANNER OF TREES, THE CYPRESSTREES WHICH ARE FOUR HUNDRET YEARS OLD, AND ANCIENT OLIVE TREES, AS WELL AS A GREAT MANY KINDS OF FRUIT TREES , APRICOTS, PEARS, PLUMS, PEACHES, ORANGES AND OTHERS. THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY AND A FIRM FAVORITE WITH PANAXIA IS THE IVY OR WHICH YOU WILL KNOWN FOR ITS CLARITY AND BRILLIACE, AND YOU RAPELY SEE IT TO BETTER ADVANTAGE THAN SLANTING DOWN THROUGH THE VARIOUS GREEN SHADES OF THE VALLEY.

DURING ITS DEVELOPMENT PANAXIA PASSES THROUGH FOUR CLEAR STAGES. TRANSFORMATION. EGG. CATERPILLAR. CHRYSALLIS. IT IS ONLY WHEN PANAXIA IS FULLY GROWN THAT IT FINDS ITS WAY TO THE VALLEY. WHY? BECAUSE THE SPECIES HAS NEED TO BE IN A COOL ENVIRONMENT AND CLOSE TO WATER IN ITS MATING SEASON WHICH IS FROM EARLY JUNE UNTIL MID SEPTEMBER. HOW DO THEY GET HERE? IT IS THOUGHT BY A SENSE OF SMELL, AN OLFACTORY SENSE WHICH GUIDES THEM TO THE PERFECT ENVIRONMENT. THEY COME AT NIGHT, SLOWLY TO BEGIN WITH IN THE FIRST DAYS OF JUNE, AND THE NUMBERS DRAMATICALLY ESCALATING UNTIL IN AUGUST PANAXIA IS TO BE COUNTED IN MILLIONS...WHEN THERE ARE CLOUDS OF BUTTERFLIES A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE SIGHT, AT IT IS QUITE NATURAL - A NATURAL MIGRATION. THERE ARE ONE OR TWO SMALLER PACKETS OF PANAXIA TO BE FOUND IN OUT OF THE WAY PLACES OF THE ISLAND, BUT THESE PLACES SEEN TO BE USED BY PANAXIA AS STAGING POSTS ON THE WAY TO THE BIG VALLEY.

VISITORS FREQUENTLY ASK WHAT THE BUTTERFLY EATS.THE SURPRISING ANSWER IS NOTHING!..IN ITS MATING SEASON.THE SPECIES ONLY EATS AT THE CATERPILLAR STAGE OF ITS DEVELOPMENT, AND THE ENERGY PRODUCED IS STORED FOR ITS MATING ACTIVITY. THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT NOT TO DISTURB THE BUTTERFLY WHILE IT IS RESTING DURING THE DAYTIME. ( ITS MATING EXISTENCE BEING NOCTURNAL )...AS MAKING THE SPECIES FLY IN THE DAYTIME USES ITS VITAL ENERGY AND CAN RESULT IN IT DYING BEFORE ITS TIME. SO PLEASE BE VERY QUIET AS YOU WANDER ABOUT THE VALLEY. IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT PANAXIA GOES HIGHER INTO THE TREES WHEN IT IS COOLER THERE, AND PLACES ITSELF AS CLOSE TO WATER AS IT CAN.

ABOUT MID SEPTEMBER THERE IS GENERALLY A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER, A FORETASTE OF AUTUMN. THIS IS THE SIGNAL FOR PANAXIA TO LEAVE AND AGAIN BY NIGHT OVER A WEEK OR TWO THEY LEAVE IN ORDER TO LAY THEIR EGGS, THE FEMALE WILL LAY A HUNDRET OR MORE. THIS CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE ON THE ISLAND, IN A MILLION DIFFERENT PLACES,AND IT HAS BEEN THOUGHT THAT THEY RETURN BY A SENSE OF SMELL OR INSTINCT TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY STARTED LIFE. AND SO THE CYCLE STARTS AGAIN...THE EGG, CATERPILLAR, CHRYSSALIS... AND BY THE FOLLOWING END OF MAY THE NEW GENERATION OF PANAXIA IS ALREADY RESTIVERY SEEKING THE PERFECT ENVIRONMENT FOR ITS MATING SEASON. NEEDLESS TO SAY THE GENERATION OF PANAXIA YOU ARE LOOKING NOW...DIE OFF IN LATE SEPTEMBER, AFTER LAYING THEIR EGGS.

AND WHAT ABOUT PREDATORS ? WELL, THE BATS AT TWILIGHT ARE CENTAINLY PREDATORS, SO ARE THE LIZARDS AND IN AUGUST AND EARLY SEPTEMBER THE WASPS ATTACK....SEEKING OUT THE WEEKEST PANAXIA AND KILLING THEM. BUT SAD TO SAY, THE SINGLE BIGGEST DANGER TO THE SPECIES PANAXIA QUADRIPUNCTARIA IS....... MAN HIMSELF. BY CLAPPING HIS HANDS, WHISTLING, THROWING STONES, AND DISTURBING THEM WITH A STICK MAN POSES TO BIGGEST THREAT TO THIS NATURAL MIGRATION.

SO PLEASE ON YOUR VISIT TO THIS LOVELY PLACE, BE CAREFUL TO LOOK AFTER THE ENVIRONMENT...THIS ENVIRONMENT, WHICH LIKE SO MANY OTHERS ALL OVER THE WORLD IS IN GRAVE DANGER OF EXTICTION.

SO....................

DON’T WHISTLE
DON’T CLAP YOUR HANDS
DON’T SHAKE THE TREES
AND GENERALY DO NOT DISTURB PANAXIA IN ANY WAY

PEACE AND QUIET IS NECESSARY FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES
THANK YOU