The Ulysses Butterfly of Far North Queensland

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

After a week of saturating rain, there was a break in the weather. I looked up from my book and out the window. Could that be sun in the sky? I surveyed the tropical garden pondering its capacity to flourish after such a drenching when my eye was drawn to something tiny-a flash of phosophorescent blue near a red flower. It kept moving and I followed the tiny creature as it danced with its partner around the garden.

What on earth was this stunning creature which had led me to feel joy and wonder in a simple moment? My research led me to find the following description

The Ulysses butterfly is one of Tropical North Queensland’s most distinctive and unique butterfly species. Their scientific name is papilio ulysses. A lot of our visitors come to our sanctuary purely to see the iridescent blue butterfly in flight, and to try and snap a photo.They are considered to be one of the most elusive butterflies and can be very hard to take photographs of – due to their bright blue colouring, they are easy to spot by their predators, so they fly very quickly and erratically to protect themselves.The Ulysses butterfly is found in most tropical rainforest areas such as Northern Queensland, Northern islands of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Like its namesake Ulysses, this butterfly is a journeyer and travels all through the Australian tropics in addition to Papua New Guinea, India Inronesia and Malaysia. In other countries it might have other names like the Blue Mountain Swallowtail or Blue Emperor.

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.Jeffrey Glassberg

Jeffrey Glassberg

As I look out the window again this time on a sunny day, I see it moving quickly now among the flowers, the joy I felt at first seeing it remains. I start to think about the relationship between butterflies and humans and how we humans in the Victorian past would collect, kill and display these magnificent creatures for their beauty and infinite variety. Yet we humans equally have the capacity to appreciate the splendour of our natural world and the life force which animates it. I reflected with gratitude on how the visit from the blue butterfly of the north had nourished me during a time of flooding rains.

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