This beautiful Large Blue is one of the most enigmatic and ravishingly beautiful butterflies but it’s extraordinarily bizarre and unique life cycle makes this so much more than just a pretty picture of a pretty butterfly.
The Large Blue has always been rare in Britain, is endangered globally and actually became extinct in the UK in 1979. It has since been reintroduced as part of a long-term and highly successful conservation project.
This butterfly is a warrior with one target: the nest of only Myrmica ants, buried under wild thyme plants.
The adult butterfly lays its egg in the flowers of the plant, the resulting larvae then produces a scent to trick the Myrmica ants into thinking it is one of their own They then actually carry the caterpillars into the nest where they live and eat for at least 11 months. They even produce sounds to mimic the ant queen which elevates their social status to the highest in the colony. They then form their chrysalis and in time, emerge their magnificent azure wings and fly away
The ants destroy the plant by eating its roots, the plant responds by releasing an ant-killing chemical, the ants react by producing a gene to neutralise this killer. The chemical also attracts the pregnant Large Blue butterflies and their ant-munching larvae as reinforcements They in turn help to save the plant!
This extraordinary and complex natural phenomenon consisting of moves and countermoves between three otherwise unrelated things. There is a delicate dance played between three parties that restores harmony and balance to the ecosystem they inhabit. It is an exquisite and totally one-of-a-kind community of bizarre relationships - nature working at its finest
Edition: Original hand drawn with soft pastels and pastel pencils. Signed.
Paper Size: 30 x 40cm landscape.
Paper: Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 360 gsm, green surface.
Frame options: Framed in 40x50cm, natural, white or black classic lacquered box frames with perspex aperture
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