Extraordinary Stories

Acting (1) Adoption (1) Adventure (753) Advertisement (3) Aging (4) Agriculture (36) Airplanes (4) Alphabet (4) Americana (71) Amish (16) Animals (26) Antiques (5) Architecture (21) Art (140) Art? (5) Arts and Crafts (66) Athletics (3) Automobiles (25) Awards (1) Banking (2) Barn raising (1) Baseball (62) Basketball (1) Beaches (84) Bed & Breakfast (1) Bee Keeping (4) Beer & Breweries (1) Birds (2) Birthdays (30) Bookbinding (3) Books (7) Boxing (1) Brother Steve (7) Buisiness (1) Business (2) Canals (1) Cancer (5) Candy (20) Caribbean Islands (2) Caribbean Villas (15) Chesapeake Bay (57) Children (15) Chocolate (1) Christmas (30) Church Adventures (106) Cigars (1) Circus (1) Civil Rights (3) Civil War (3) Classic Cars (5) Coin club (1) Collections (65) Comedy (2) Comic Books (1) Commercials (1) Comnservation (2) Conservation (32) Craftsmanship (8) Creamsicle the Cat (11) Crime (8) Crisis (266) Cruise Travel (6) Danger (10) Daughter Brynn (50) Daughter-In-Law Barb (7) Death (3) Death and Dying (30) Downsizing (2) Dunking (2) Education (30) Energy (11) Entertainment (152) Entrepreneurial (59) Eternal Life (2) Facebook (4) Factories (1) Fads (6) Family (241) Farming (23) Father (40) Father Time (65) Favorites (46) Firefighting (1) Flora and Fauna (24) Fond Memories (446) Food and Cooking (141) Food and Drink (72) Football (4) Forgetfullness (2) Former Students (5) Framing (10) Friends (313) Fun (1) Fundraiser (6) Games (1) Giving (5) Golf (3) Grandkids (120) Grandparents (2) Grandview Heights (27) Great service (2) Growing Old (3) Growing Up (172) Handwriting (3) Hat Making (2) Hawaii (45) Health and Well Being (11) Health Hazards (73) Heartbreak (4) Heroes (9) High School (124) History (502) Hockey (1) Holidays (106) Home construction (7) Horses (1) Humorous (67) Ice Cream (3) Inventions (27) Islands (2) Italy (12) Jewelry (3) Job Related (60) Just Bloggin' (54) Just Wondering (10) Juvenile Diabetes (5) Labor (3) Lancaster County (382) Law Breakers (2) LDubs In-Laws (3) Life's Lessons (151) Lists (68) Lititz (13) Love (3) Magic (1) Marching (1) Market (3) Medical (130) Memories (1) Middle School (1) Mother (49) Movies (2) Music (87) My Brother (16) My Wife (254) Neighbors (5) New Year's Day (2) Nuisance (3) Obsolescence (4) Old Age (1) Pain and Suffering (6) Panama Canal Cruise (13) Parish Resource Center (14) Patriotism (1) Penmanship (1) Pets and Animals (94) Photography (194) Playing Trains (2) Politics (27) Postal Service (1) Presidents (6) Pride (3) Printing (65) Protesting (2) Public Service (60) Questionnaire (1) Race relations (2) Reading (1) Revolutionary War (1) Rock & Roll (1) Rodents (2) Sand (1) Scouting (2) Shakespeare (1) Shopping (19) Simple Pleasures (115) Slavery (4) Small Towns (3) Snow (1) Son Derek (26) Son Tad (30) Son-In-Law Dave (22) Soup (1) Sports (124) St. Martin/Sint Maarten (249) Stained Glass (1) Story-Telling (20) Stragers (2) Strangers (1) Stress (2) Stuff (3) Surfing (1) Tattoos (1) Teaching (42) Technology (75) The Arts (3) The Beach House (62) The Shore (78) This and That (15) Timekeeping (3) Tools and Machines (23) Toys and Games (30) Track & Field (1) Tragedy (1) Trains (10) Transportation (10) Travel (2) Trending (2) TV Favorites (16) Underground Railroad (3) USA (1) Vacation and Travel (534) Vehicles (79) War (6) Watches and Watchmaking (4) Weather (47) Weddings (1) Wisdom (3) Yearbooks (4) York County (1)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The "Attack Of The Giant Atlas Moth" Story

LDub covered with a Giant Atlas Moth.  If you look closely
you can see my mouth and teeth through the moth.  Click to enlarge.
It was an ordinary day.  Standing in the St. Martin Butterfly Farm with a Giant Atlas Moth on my nose.  Why?  Just because I can, I suppose ... and it seems to enjoy it!  The Butterfly Farm is located along the road that takes you to one of the many beautiful beaches on the island, Le Galion Beach.  We have been to visit with the butterflies and moths before, but never tire of the experience of following the life span of one of the most beautiful insects in the world.  
Molly, our tour guide for our trip through the St. Martin
Butterfly Farm.  She is holding another Giant Atlas Moth.
I'm sure that if you search the St. Martin/Sint Maarten tab above, you will see visits we have taken in the past to La Ferme Des Papillions (French for Butterfly Farm).  Well, our guide today is Molly who is the daughter of the owners, Willy and Karin Slayter who opened the farm in 1994 after years of cruising the Caribbean.  
One of many types and colors of caterpillars
that we found in the Butterfly Farm.
We began our tour with an explanation of the life cycle of butterflies and moths and then showing the half-dozen visitors in our group living examples of each cycle.  We saw how the eggs that the butterfly or moth would lay turn into a caterpillar which were found on plants and leaves which in turn would find a safe spot to shed its skin and begin to make its transition into a butterfly or moth.  It formed a pupa which workers in the farm would attempt to find on the many plants, trees and flowers and hang them in wooden boxes to keep them safe until they emerged from their chrysalis or cocoon.  In the case of a butterfly, the pupa is called a chrysalis while the moth pupa is called a cocoon.  The St. Martin Butterfly farm has a variety of butterflies while only having one species of moth, the Giant Atlas Moth.  
One of a few boxes where the pupas are place until the
butterflies or moths emerge from them.
And, it is huge!  It is the largest moth in the world with a wingspan of up to 12 inches and a surface area of up to 62 square inches.  The reason for the name "Atlas" can be: (1) the map-like pattern on its wings, (2) the name of the Titan from Greek Mythology, and (3) the Chinese Cantonese name meaning "snake's head" referring to the outer tips of the wings which, if you stretch your imagination somewhat, could look like the head of a snake.  
Here is a tree with a few of the Giant
Atlas Moths clinging to it.
The Giant Atlas Moth's cocoon is made into purses in Taiwan.  This moth has no mouth and once outside the cocoon relies on fat storage to live the week or two after emerging from the cocoon before it dies.  As for the butterflies that roam the rather small farm covered with a netting to keep out predators as much as keeping the butterflies and moths inside, there are a number of varieties of them with the familiar Monarch and the iridescent Blue Morpho butterflies my favorites.  As we wandered around the farm, Molly would pick a butterfly off a branch of a bush or the flower of a plant and place it in the hand of one of the tourists.  She showed us the proper way to handle the insects to avoid any harm to them.  After our tour was completed, Carol and I wandered about for a few more photos and at that time met Tito, another worker at the butterfly farm who had been there for almost 15 years.  
This is Tito.  He answered a few questions we had while
exploring the farm on our own after the tour.
I asked a few questions and after seeing me with my camera, grabbed one of the Giant Atlas Moths from a tree and placed it on Carol's head as if it were a hair covering or a small hat.  Then he took it off Carol and placed it on my head for a few photos that Carol took and then for a few more with it on my nose.  
Carol's new hairpiece, the Giant Atlas Moth.
We had the best time during the two hours we spent at the butterfly farm.  And, when we paid the $15 charge to enter, our tickets were stamped to allow us to return during the remainder of our vacation as many times as we wished.  Oh yeah, the gift shop was packed with a variety of gifts and naturally cased butterfly collections.  We managed to find a sand dollar with butterflies painted on it that will look great next Christmas on our tree.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - The following  photographs show the variety of butterflies that can be found in the butterfly farm.  There were many others that I did not include in this story, but were still beautiful insects.





I realize this isn't a butterfly or moth, but though it was and interesting shot.







No comments:

Post a Comment