Well, many people were asking for it and now they’ve got it, they don’t want it!
Not the Referendum Brexit result but hot weather. The other night the temperature in most of England was 27 C at midnight (having been around 36 C during the day) and many did not get much sleep. As well as heat there was a very strong warm wind which, with all the windows open, kept the curtains flapping about. Coupling that with a full Moon it’s not really surprising strange things occurred the next day and tiredness was rife.
Although the recent heat has done some funny things to people, it appears it is affecting the wildlife too. Yesterday I saw a butterfly (Red Admiral?) attack a slug. Well, that’s what it looked like. It landed on this slug and seemed to try to eat it or sucked on it for about 4 minutes. The slug seemed helpless. It didn’t seem to put up much of a fight. Well, shell-less terrestrial gastropods don’t move that fast at the best of times and have no automatic weaponry as far as malacologists know. Slugs are not generally known for their fighting prowess; although the great Mohammed Ali once remarked that he had slugged it out with Sonny Liston. Perhaps he had something there with his ‘float like a butterfly’ mantra which we never realised.
Here are three photos. the first two with the butterfly on the slug and the third when it had landed on a chair, seemingly having satiated its blood lust. It was hard to get close for a decent photo and the thing kept flapping its wings in a sort of protest. Is this a new breed of vampire butterfly that can go out in daylight but hate paparazzi? That’s a documentary for the Discovery Channel to ponder.
Here is another photo after the vicious attack.
Notice in this photo how the butterfly appears to have changed colour slightly after draining the slug? It ‘s not the camera, as I was using my top Nikon which is a great camera. If you enlarge the pics you can see great detail on the second image.
A friend of mine, Drew, said that, ‘I’m no authority on these things but what you might have witnessed was the butterfly getting moisture off the slug, in the absence of any local puddles due to the excessive heat. That’s what an old boy told me once. It’s a theory anyway.’
Drew’s old boy could be right. I hope so. Otherwise, it’s another winged pest to watch out for and means we would have to wear garlic and crosses when enjoying a nice snooze in the garden or park to ward off potential vampire butterflies.
Sleep easy in the garden, won’t you?