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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Butterflies of Israel on Stamps

On 12 April 2011, Israel Post released a magnificent sheet featuring butterflies.

Overall, Israel's butterfly population may be categorized into seven families. Five of those families are represented among the butterflies featured in the stamp series:

Swallowtail - Papilio machaon syriacus represents the Papilionidae family. Many members of this family display prominent colors, including black, yellow and red. These colors serve to warn birds and lizards that they are poisonous.

Red admiral - Vanessa atalanta represents the Nymphalidae family. Like many of the species belonging to this family, this butterfly remains camouflaged as long as its wings are closed because its underwings are dull in color, revealing its bold colors only when its wings are open wide.

Caper white - Anaphaeis aurota represents the Pieridae family of white and yellow butterflies. This butterfly's white wings are decorated with black markings. This species migrates to Israel from Africa nearly every summer and it may be seen flying throughout Israel until early winter.

Plain tiger - Danaus chrysippus is the only representative of the Danainae family to be found in Israel. It migrates annually from Africa to Israel and belongs to the same scientific genus as the American Monarch butterfly, considered to be the most famous butterfly in the world thanks to the tremendous distances it migrates.

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus zelleri and Tawny silver-line - Apharitis acamas represent the largest family of butterflies in Israel – the Lycaenidae family. Like many of the males belonging to this family, the Common blue male is bright blue in color in order to attract females, while the coloring of the Tawny silver-line allows it to blend into its surroundings and remain camouflaged from its enemies.