The Glass Winged Butterfly, better known as the "Snow Fly" due to their fluffy white fur, is a truly beautiful insect. Shimmering and tinkling in the breeze like a natural wind chime, it "shivers" its wings in order to achieve such sounds. Mellow and generally comfortable in the presence of a curious person, this butterfly may even land upon a passerby for no apparent reason. Used to colder climates, it resides mostly in the north, due to the simple fact that their one and only food source is there.
The Glass Winged Butterfly, more commonly known as the "Snow Fly", is an
absolutely lovely specimen. Truly beautiful, this butterfly sparkles even in the
weakest light. Although its wings are not literally made of glass per se, it
could fool most into believing otherwise. This butterfly is a natural, living
chime, it's brittle glass-esque wings making soft tinkling noises as it glides
gracefully from place to place. And, as fragile as this classy butterfly
appears, it is a rather sturdy critter.
Even though this gorgeous insect isn't quite as large as the death dance butterflies, with a wingspan anywhere between one to one and an half palmspans, it is just as elegant. Its wings are a wide, triangular shape that are reminiscent of the shape of a bird's spread wings. While the front of the wing is smoothly curved, the back ends in scattered points that only adds to the bird wing appearance. As suggested to by its name, the butterfly's wings are much like glass, the opaqueness of the which varies between perfectly sheer and lightly frosted. And the edge of either wing is covered with thick, but short, white fur.
Each wing usually has two sets of tails, one set at the top of the wing and one set at the bottom. The insect's gender determines how many tails it has. If the butterfly has two tails at the top and four tails at the bottom, then it is male. And, if it has four tails at the top and eight tails at the bottom, then it is female. The tails are thin and each are tipped with a hard diamond shaped end, which produce the wind chime sound that this butterfly makes while they are gliding about.
Its head is an oval in shape, though its forehead is wide and flat with two unremarkable white, slightly fluffy antennae. The majority of the head is black and furless, while the top of the head is covered with white fur. One beady black, almond shaped eye rests on either side of the butterfly's head and both are fringed with white 'lashes'. The only thing on this creature that isn't white or black is its proboscis, which tends to be various shades of sky blue.
The body of this butterfly is the reason for it better known alias, the Snow Fly. The majority of the actual body is rather thin and long, generally tending to be around one palmspan in length. The only bulky part of its body is a section of its back, which is packed full of muscle in order to support its wings. However, one would be hard pressed to notice such details about the insect's body since it is covered with fur. There are two different lengths of hair coat this bug's body. The first is extremely thick, short white fur that is practically like a second skin. The second is more of a long fuzz than fur and is usually around half of a palmspan in length. The longer hair starts off a very solid white towards the roots and fades out into a more opaque colour.
Like pretty much all butterflies, this one has six legs, two forelegs and four hind legs. Much like the rest of it, the legs are white and are covered with very fine white hairs. The very back two legs are almost twice as long as the other four legs, curling outward, and are the only legs that they use for balance rather than to cling to the surfaces that they land upon. The bottom half of the first four legs are covered with such fine, stiff short hairs that it gives the illusion that their legs are sticky, rather than clinging to surfaces via hooked hairs.
The amazing feat of living in the harshly cold climate of the Icelands is
possibly a quirk that was granted to this butterfly via their main and only food
source, the hrugchuck grass.
Along with its incredible ability to survive in such an extreme climate, as one
would not go so far as to say that the butterfly was thriving, this critter
requires very little food once it is an adult. It is presumed that the insect
does not need to consume the nectar of a
hrugchuck grass blossom more than
once a month throughout the span of its adult life, which lasts for only one
year. However, it is not unlikely that they may eat more than that should a
blossom become available to them.
Territory. The Glass Winged Butterflies reside throughout the entirety of the Icelands, and usually where the most hrugchuck grass may be. During the heart of winter, finding this pretty little butterfly too far from the tunderfoots is out of the ordinary due to their dependence upon the large animal for digging up the blossom of their only food source.
Habitat/Behaviour. Unlike most butterflies that one may encounter, this particularly sparkly insect has a very mellow temperament. It doesn't at all mind when an entirely different species approaches it, and may even go so far as to land upon whatever it is that happens to advance upon it. Actions such as these may, however, put this little bug at risk of being devoured by that which it lands upon. However, it doesn't seem to mind the odds, whether or not they are in its favour.
Diet. This beautiful butterfly's existence relies completely upon its one and only source of food, the hrugchuck grass. During the summertime, the caterpillars spend well over a week devouring as much of the blue grass that they had been laid and hatched upon. And, as adults, they seek out the hrugchuck's flowers to feast upon the plants nectar. However, once winter begins, layers of snow cover this insect's precious flower. In order to survive, the Snow Fly will travel in the wake of any tunderfoot that they can find. The giant mammal digs through the snow with its trunk for exactly the same flowers and grass that this natural wind chime seeks out.
Living off of just one plant from the day that the insect was born until the day it perishes is not without its benefits. The hrugchuck grass is possibly the reason behind how the Glass Winged Butterflies are able to survive in such cold climates. The plant has the ability to allow animals that devour enough of it to require far less food than is normal, which plays out in this bug's favour when it becomes difficult to find the flowers crucial to its existence. It is thought that this flower, which is the pretty insect's sole means of nourishment, is the reason behind the butterfly's ability to withstand and reside in the frigid temperatures of the Icelands.
Mating. Even despite this critter's venturous and possibly deadly habits, its kind is still in existence due to one simple fact. That the moment they inflate and dry their wings, they are ready to mate and lay eggs. Mating has no special requirements attached to it, which makes finding a mate extraordinarily easy for this butterfly. Once they have mated, the female lays a cluster of up to twenty eggs anywhere on the hrugchuck grass. All of the eggs are oval in shape and a dark blue in colour. However, the eggs will wait a year before hatching.
Once it is summer, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will immediately begin to eat, starting with devouring its own egg. At first, only starting out at four nailsbreadths in length, they are the same dark blue colour as its egg. The caterpillar will grow exponentially rather quickly and progressively lighten to a sky blue colour every time it molts its skin. After roughly two weeks of constant eating and several moltings, the caterpillar will find a sheltered spot in the grass before molting its skin one last time.
Gestation inside of the chrysalis usually lasts a week before the butterfly breaks free. Once free of its cocoon, it will find a spot to hang upside-down in order to inflate and dry its wings. Inflation and drying takes about two hours. When that small task is done, the insect will then immediately search for one of their own of the opposite gender in order to mate and begin the process anew.
Usages. It is possible to catch a few of these rather friendly butterflies, as they are not bothered by animals approaching it or attempting to handle it. Though there are surely many things that any creative person could put the Snowfly's wings to, making wind chimes is one of the most common. The gentle, soothing tinkling that this butterfly makes and the beauty of the butterfly's wings themselves making quite the decoration.
To procure the wings without damaging them is rather easy. Simply catch one, hold its body with your index finger and thumb, then cut off its head. Beheading the bug kills it immediately and stops any movement that it might make, which could damage the wings. Removing the wings with a knife takes barely a moment. It has been found that gouging a small hole near the base of the wing and stringing a thin cord through it is the best way of tethering the wing to the wood. The last step is to take the wings and hang them from a small piece of wood that you can hang outside of your home. Then, simply wait for the breeze to do the rest.