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Large Blue Butterflies Are Back - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Large Blue Butterflies Are Back
I was charmed by this article about the return of a butterfly species that had become extinct in Britain:

Butterfly Species Reborn 30 Years After Extinction
Thirty years ago it was officially declared extinct in Britain. But the beautiful large blue butterfly has made an astonishing return. Around 20,000 will be flitting through the countryside this summer as a result of reintroduction efforts, scientists say.


First, this case demonstrates that it is absolutely crucial to understand the real cause(s) behind a species' demise. Otherwise nothing will save it. Second, it demonstrates that livestock and nature are not always opposed: the large blue requires closely grazed land for its habitat, because it depends on an ant species that really only thrives under those conditions.

Third ... well, you know me. I'm pondering what kind of alien species might evolve with a relationship like that, and what they would be like, and how humans would react. I think the aliens would get along fine, and humans would be horrified by all of them. Imagine a species that raised the young of another species that ate the raisers' own babies. Ant Alien to Human: "Yes, I know they eat babies, but ... but ... they're so cute! I can't help myself. I just have to pick them up and cuddle them and take them home." Butterfly Alien to Human: "How could you imply that we abuse the Ant People? We love them! They're our parents!" And I think they would both say: "We can't help how we're made."

Yai, like I need another story-farm. Me to Butterfly and Ant Aliens: "Go to the end of the line, folks."

Ant Alien: "I can't smell the end of the line from here."

Me: "Neither can I. Start walking."

Butterfly Alien: "Look at me, look at me! I can fly!"

Me: "Go follow your nursemaid or I'll take a net to you."

*sigh* And here I was supposed to be working on sabbat history. What does my brain do?

-- Ooo! Butterflies!!

Literally. *headdesk*

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Comments
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: July 2nd, 2009 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with your brain -- "Oooh, Butterflies!"
veronica_milvus From: veronica_milvus Date: July 2nd, 2009 08:31 am (UTC) (Link)
That's funny!

I'm going to look out for them. Isn't nature almost stranger than we can imagine?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Nature is extremely strange, and things of things that I would not necessarily have imagined on my own. It makes splendid inspiration.

Also, it is a good backup in case of editorial protests to the tune of, "That's totally implausible." "Read this. Evidently Mother Nature thinks it is quite plausible." "O ... kay."
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 2nd, 2009 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Extirpated! Extirpated! It was never 'extinct'; that word means that the species has been wiped off the face of the Earth. 'Extirpated' is the word to use when a species has been cleared from one of its former ecological territories, but still exists elsewhere, kinda like wolves were extirpated from the UK, but still in exist in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Edited at 2009-07-02 10:47 am (UTC)
ideealisme From: ideealisme Date: July 2nd, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah I was thinking that. There must have been at least one of them still fluttering around! :)
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: July 2nd, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Extirpated is an awesome word. -_-
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I remember thinking that "extinct" was not the right term, but the correct one did not pop into my head at the time. "Extirpated," that's it.

Bad journalist, no donut.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 3rd, 2009 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I could say I had a bug up my butt about the right word to use, but, technically speaking, a bug is a very specific type of insect (which doesn't include butterflies...).

:D
qilora From: qilora Date: July 2nd, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
only extirpated but still such a blessing that they returned! :)
From: rowangolightly Date: July 2nd, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
*chuckle*
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: July 2nd, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You should write a poem about them! That might quiet them down for a little bit and it wouldn't take as long as writing a story. :)
From: minor_architect Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seconded. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

... poem is done, and I'll be sharing news about it in another post.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

... this was such a good suggestion, I went ahead and wrote a poem. It is a long poem, but still far more concise than a story. I'll post about it shortly.
mother2012 From: mother2012 Date: July 2nd, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
: "How could you imply that we abuse the Ant People? We love them! They're our parents

Ha! I can't wait to read *that* story!

Thanks for posting this. Fascinating.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I appreciate the encouragement. I've done it up as a poem rather than a story, which relates the situation more concisely. Someday I may write fiction about these species, though; they are fascinating. And they are ... not quite what I thought, at first glance.
From: browngirl Date: July 2nd, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is great news! And I love your conversation with the ants and butterflies.
asakiyume From: asakiyume Date: July 2nd, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
(that was the best, wasn't it?)
asakiyume From: asakiyume Date: July 2nd, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
What an amazing story of mutual attraction and exploitation! Definitely fodder for a story or poem. Your quotes from the Ant Alien and the Butterfly Alien are super :-)

I remember reading about a certain sort of sparrow--not sure what sort--that used to flourish in cities, to the point of being a pest, but then pretty much disappeared from cities as horse and buggy gave way to the automobile. The sparrows had eaten the grains and seeds in the horse dung. No horse dung in cities, none of those sparrows (or not so many, anyway).
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 2nd, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Indeed, I have written a poem, and will post about that shortly.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 2nd, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not quite the same thing, but a story about a planet where a predator and prey species both became sentient and live and work together is "The Sparrow" and its sequel, "Children of God" by Mary Doria Russell. Excellent books, I highly recommend them. And the second book has a prominant autistic character.

My memory bugs me sometimes. I completely forgot both titles and the author, and the only way I was able to find it was by remembering the name of the main character in both books, Emilio Sandoz, and Googling it. *Sigh*
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 3rd, 2009 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Imagine a species that raised the young of another species that ate the raisers' own babies. Ant Alien to Human: "Yes, I know they eat babies, but ... but ... they're so cute! I can't help myself. I just have to pick them up and cuddle them and take them home."

Well, the whole idea is the Ant Alien wouldn't even know. It'd be more like "Little Billy ate his sister? Oh, don't be ridiculous! Billy is a lovely little larvae. He couldn't hurt a fly. But where is his sister, anyhow?"

Actually, though, this concept isn't all that far fetched in terms of human ideology. Consider the mass sacrifices of warriors by the Aztecs to provide enough life force for their gods to keep the freakin' universe from completely collapsing around them in a storm of volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, plagues, insect swarms, more earthquakes, invading armies, chihuahua famines, etc.

"Of course they eat brave warriors, but we need the Gods to save us from all the terrible things in the world." See how sacrifice of members of one's own species can be justified?

Just sayin, ya know...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 3rd, 2009 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

Your idea is interesting, and it's kind of what I was thinking at first, but the storyline played out in a totally different way:
http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/688607.html

I made that post after writing a poem today, "The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts." The poem is available for sponsorship in a new mode, where I'm posting verses as donations come in. I put the first two verses up as a teaser and added a third verse based on a donation.
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