Photographs by John Hendrickson
Contains five each of the following four notecards: California sister, California sister, Common buckeye, and Pale swallowtail. Click on the small picture to see the notecards.
The fluttering flight of the butterfly has charmed countless gentle souls the world over. But more hard-boiled individuals have wondered how such seemingly erratic locomotion could ever have emerged from the tooth-and-claw struggle of natural selection. The answer came from a pair of Oxford zoologists armed with a wind tunnel, spotlights, six camcorders, and a high-speed video camera, who set out to determine exactly what a butterfly does with its four wings. Their answer, published in 2002, is that it “uses radically different aerodynamic mechanisms on successive wing-beats,” exploiting a gamut of forces generated by different motions.
There is nothing random about the flight of a butterfly. Sometimes the most fruitful path between two points is not a straight line.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this product supports Sierra Club’s efforts to preserve and protect the planet.