Today I visited a new Sector of the ACG - Munde Nuevo. After driving some severely eroded roads and crossing though a stream we arrived at the La Perla Station. I was able to get measurements from 22 individual caterpillars, so a good haul. At lunch though I took a walk around and watched some of the adult butterflies. After being briefly distracted by a few White-throated Magpie-Jays I heard an odd clicking sound. Looking around I eventually realized that it was coming from pairs of butterflies.Many butterflies are territorial. Males defend these territories by chasing out intruding males. They are sometimes seen engaging in a spiralling flight where eventually one male gives up and leaves (usually the intruder). Many species here in Costa Rica are territorial and I enjoy watching them defend their areas and trying to mentally figure out where one territory ends and the another begins.
I only saw the clicking expressed during these spiral flights, so I suspected that it had something to do with territoriality. I was told today that the clicking butterfly I observed was from the Hamadryas genus- the so-called Cracker butterflies. They primarily eat fermenting fruit. The Wikipedia article details the behavioural ecology pretty well so you can read more about that really interesting work there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_butterfly#Behavior
|Hamadryas sp. (Nymphalidae)|