We Gave Up Waiting . . . So We Ask Once Again – Erato Hypothesizing

Erato Heliconian Butterfly on Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We recently posted this image, of a very rare butterfly seen in the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas. Seeing this Erato Heliconian butterfly was a Rush! for me, its stark beauty adding to the excitement. It hung around this gully-like area for more than 30 minutes, resting. It did change when it rested, but it did not leave the area you see here.

Several folks saw it, then then left to investigate other places in the NBC. Me? I returned to again enjoy this special treat. Soon after I returned to watch it, the Erato began to fly, and alone, with no one else there, I watched it fly away. How did it fly? It flew in a straight line, some 4-5 feet above the gully path. You could not miss it. All the time it flew those what? 180 feet, those bright red patches shone. There was never a moment when the red could not be seen.

That interested me alot. When cop cars speed to an accident or to a call, their flashing lights shine all the time, can be seen all the time. Same for fire engines, as well as for airplanes taxiing on a runaway. When my wife, late in the 9th month told me that suddenly her contraction were 1-2 minutes apart, that our 4th was coming, coming, I remember speeding through red lights, with our flashing emergency lights going, non-stop.

In that recent post, I urged all to consider this query, and share what they thought. Why did the Erato Heliconian butterfly flash its siren reds 100% of the time it flew?

Pyle, Pavulaan, Kaufman, Lehman, Zirlin, Cech, Tudor, Rickard, Linch, Delestrez, Glassberg, Childs . . . My shout out earned no hypothesis from any, be they expert or enthusiast.

So, again I ask, why do you think those big, bright red patches on the dorsal (upper) wing surface show 100% of the time that the Erato flies?

Jeff . . . Waits