Sunday, March 06, 2005

My Favorite Butterfly


Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

I have been thinking that some readers might appreciate an explanation of the various clues in my riddle that was solved recently by Ehsan with help from Jamak. I hope that you like the picture above. It is, of course, the subject of my riddle. I found this picture some months ago. It is by far the best picture of a tiger swallowtail that I have ever seen!

Ok, lets get to the clues. The first and most apparent clue was the color of the paper: yellow with black ink, the main colors of the butterfly. "Chromation commingles Twix saffron and swarth", compliments this clue. "Mong myriad min. moieties: Unmanifest motley crews", was the subtitle of my first posted clue. This picture is a photograph of a tiger swallowtail's wing magnified about 650 times. The picture shows the microscopic scales that give color to the butterfly's wings. "Brigandine occults crystal Sans aegis reception", again refers to the microscopic scales on the wings. Brigandine, as Khodadad correctly noted, is a type of ancient body armor worn by soldiers. It is composed of interconnected metal scales. Now, I said that this was one of the more obscure clues. All insect wings consist of a transparent membrane that is made rigid by a network of stiffening veins. Many insects simply have transparent wings; for example, most people will have noticed this feature of common house flies. Butterflies and moths have the same transparent wing membranes, only the transparency of their wings is hidden by millions of tiny colored scales. Aegis is a word that refers to the shield of the mythical god Zeus, or in general as a protection. Now, the clue should be understandable. The butterfly's "brigandine" hides the crystal wings without offering any protection. "Pon planular paired adjuncts; Fore ante hind; Frail borne' trails Brandish ahinder", is a more strait forward clue. The butterfly has two pairs of wings. It has fore wings and hind wings. The "frail borne' trails" are the tails on the hind wings. "Kin felinus maximus: Via simile in mien", simply means that the subject of the riddle looks like the world's largest cat: the tiger. Many people probably believe that the so called "king of beasts", the lion, is the world's largest cat, however, the largest tigers outweigh the largest lions by several hundred pounds. The last part of the riddle is the clue from the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". The "aeronauts toting coconuts", in the movie, are swallows, although it is not established as to whether they are African or European swallows. :) Thanks to everyone who participated in my riddle. I am glad that it has finally been solved!

11 Comments:

Blogger Jamak said...

So I guess "Gleutus Maximus" was the clue which helped Ehsan solve the riddle. Better yet what Legofish had said:)

3/06/2005 10:38 AM  
Blogger Jamak said...

BTw, thanks for explaining the riddle and also presenting it to us. You were a very clever fellow who was able to put such a sophisticated riddle together.

3/06/2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger David said...

Jamak, I am sure that your "gluteus" clue was instrumental in solving the riddle. :) I am glad that you appreciated the explanation. Thank you for your very nice compliment.

3/06/2005 12:45 PM  
Blogger David said...

Ehsan, I did some minor edits to my post and republished, but then I noticed that your comment had disappeared. Perhaps that happened because your name was linked to your swallowtail picture. Hmmm, strange. Lets see, I think that I remember most of what you said. I can understand that the "brigandine" clue might be misleading. Many people have seen a butterfly, but few are familiar with the microscopic details of their wings. When I looked at your picture of the swallowtail in Iran I did remember it. I can even remember more or less what my comment was. It is amazing to me how similar the Iranian tiger swallowtail is to the North American one. I expect that both species are decended from a common ancestor. Some species of insects have changed very little in the last 100 million years. Ancient insects, have been found perfectly preserved in amber that is at least that old. They are quite similar to their modern decendants. It would not surprise me at all if tiger swallowtails were flitting around as dinosaurs munched on leaves or on each other. Please feel free to repost your comment with the link to your picture. Btw, I'm glad that you liked the picture that I posted. I wish that I had taken that picture, but I found it when I did a web search. However, I have seen tiger swallowtails that are just as beautiful. When I was a kid, I lived for a few years on a mountain ridge in Birmingham, Alabama. We had lots of flowering bushes in the yard and, in the summer, there were butterflies everywhere. It was really wonderful!

3/07/2005 3:00 AM  
Anonymous koozeh said...

I understand now why you said I should've guessed the riddle :))) I knew exactly that you love butterfly and that this particular type is your favorite.

3/07/2005 7:41 PM  
Blogger H.N.K said...

when I was a child, I loved Butterfly so much..
there were a really nice collection of them in sumer in our garden, once I went out carried a glass and I caught one of them but I hurt "cut" my hand by the glass, and I feel pain, and I was worried if that the Butterfly felt pain too. so I gave it her freedom..
I was really annoying and strong girl when I was a child. ask Najmaa ( what did hnk do with the frog when she was a child?) I think she will love to answer you a bout this question.

3/10/2005 7:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hi hnk,
Thanks for visiting and sharing your butterfly story. When I was a child, I collected insects. I would catch them in a net and then I would put them in a jar with chloroform. This would put them to sleep, permanently. They felt no pain, but after doing this for a while, I decided that I did not want to kill butterflies anymore just to put them in my collection box. I was much happier to see them alive and flying free. So, from then until now, I just enjoy watching them. I think that I will write to Najma and ask her about you and the frog. :)

Ehsan, I have apparently caused the deletion of your new comment. I republished my blog and it was gone, just like your first comment. I am pretty sure that this is happening because you made your name into a link, but I haven't tested this theory yet. Anyway, I thought that I would restore a link to your picture of the Iranian Tiger Swallowtail. Here is the link.

3/11/2005 2:27 PM  
Blogger Ehsan said...

David, they say third time's a charm. Yeah, I think my first two comments were deleted because of the link (Blogger is trying to be smart!) Thank you for adding the link, and once again thanks for the interesting explanations. Have a great weekend.

3/12/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger Ameer H. said...

Hi David, Thanks for giving me hope! I don't know David, I will try, but I don't really know if anyone will ever like me!

3/17/2005 4:51 AM  
Blogger arash said...

the most exiting point in your blog and comments is your farvour to read persian blogs....

3/17/2005 7:09 AM  
Blogger David said...

Ameer, I like to think that there is always hope. I am certain that some people already like you. :)

Arash, I do enjoy reading Persian blogs, as long as they are written in English. :) Thanks for visiting.

3/18/2005 11:41 AM  

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