A flutter of gorgeous green, this pretty pollinator is part of the swallowtail family of butterflies. Each year I visit Butterfly Jungle at Safari Park I feel the magic of being surrounded by delicate multi-colored wings. Many butterflies, like the tailed jay, have wildly different designs on one side of their wings compared to the other, and seem like little quick change artists when they open up. I ventured deeper into the world of the butterfly this year than ever before, and got a closer look at their cute bug eyes and furry little faces. Turns out the pair of compound eyes on opposite sides of their head give them a 360 degree view, and each eye is composed of up to 17,000 ommatidia (individual light receptors with their own microscopic lenses). And what looks like fur is actually tiny sensory hairs found on all three parts of their body (the head, thorax, and abdomen). And did I mention how I love seeing them use their probiscus (like a well designed straw) to drink the nectar from flowers and then store it all curled up when not in use? Oh, the wonder and beauty of the butterfly!
Keywords:Butterfly, Butterfly Jungle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Tailed Jay Butterfly