Jezebel nymphs show off to stay alive

(17 March 2017) A butterfly, at night, in the middle of the rainforest; a rare sighting…. moths are much more common.
The beautiful Jezebel Nymph, or Mynes geoffroyi, mimics the ‘normal’ Jezebel butterfly – of the Delias species – in its appearance. The reason for this ‘I want me to look like you’ feature is ‘self-defense’. The ‘normal’ Jezebels are full of toxins, as they feed on mistletoe; a good food source if you realise that Australia is home to 90 species of mistletoe… Europe only has one. The Jezebel Nymph on the other hand feeds on stinging trees and native mulberries, which do not contain toxins at all…. despite the nasty features of the stinging trees in general. Potential predators might assess the Jezebel Nymph to be a ‘normal’ Jezebel, leaving it alone to avoid getting poisoned.

The torch was positioned to shine on the butterfly, but not on foliage behind it, to maintain the black background. f/6.3, 1/20 second, ISO 200, 60 mm macro lens at about 1.2 meters from the subject.