Large Blue Butterfly : The Wolf in Ant’s Clothing

The large blue butterfly (Maculinea arion – or Phengaris arion, depending on who you ask) is both beauty and the beast. Beauty because … well, it’s a pretty little butterfly, so what more could you ask for? The beast because it’s also such a master of deception, infiltration and carnivory it could be the antagonist in a sci fi horror movie. A fairly brutal sci fi horror movie at that.

So welcome to the world of a butterfly that is both parasite and predator, combining the tendencies of the cuckoo and the wolf. Oh, and it spends a chunk of its life pretending to be an ant.

Sometimes Nature’s just plain weird … And wonderful, of course.

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Hit the View Post button to see what the large blue looks like, learn more about its bonkers life and explore the frankly mind-blowing world of myrmecophiles in all their almost uncountable variety …

Banteng : The Horns of a Dilemma

Wild cattle don’t come much more beautiful or impressive than the banteng (Bos javanicus), one of three (or is it two?) surviving cattle species that are as much a part of wild Asia as are the tiger or the orang-utan. Like the tiger and the orang-utan, the banteng has not done very well in the face of human pressure, but it has one thing those animals don’t: a large population – its largest, in fact – living wild in a country that was never part of its natural range.

So what does it mean for conservation when an endangered animal’s safest and most successful home is a place Nature never put it …?

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Photos and film and lots of further info on not just the banteng, but also the gaur (Bos gaurus) and the kind of tragic kouprey (Bos sauveli) await in the shownotes…