The High Sailer is a uniquely designed butterfly that lives in the rain forests of Africa. This unique species of the genus Neptis is known for its distinct flight pattern, appearing to sail on the wind.
The Neptis alta is a herbivorous creature which uses its maxillae (insect mouthparts used to siphon) in the adult stage, to extract nectar from plants. The outer anatomy of this fascinating butterfly consists of the head, which has complex eyes that the High Sailer can see out of with many hexagonal plates of complex eyes, through which the High Sailor can see with multiple hexagonal plates, thorax, and abdomen, and interesting wings. (Porch, 490)
= Life Cycle
The High Sailor goes through a complete metamorphosis, which include the egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages (Porch, 490). The siphon, which is like a curly straw, draws in the nutrients. Once ingested, the nectar is transported through the esophagus to the crop (a diminutive sac located in the esophagus that is used as a storage facility). When the food is to be digested, it is passed through the gizzard, which contains chitin (a chemical which breaks down proteins and such) plates that imbibe the nutritious aspects of the nectar. Then the somewhat broken down nectar passes on to the gastric ceca, which are pocket-like objects that supply the stomach with liquids to help with absorption of nutrients. Any nectar that has not been broken down and used for its nutritional value is passed through the intestines that will absorb the rest of the chemicals necessary for the Neptis alta to survive, then through the rectum. The leftover waste is expelled through the anus. Respiration occurs by the tracheae which is a complex system of tubes throughout the head, thorax, and abdomen. The spiracles that are on the ventral portion of the abdomen emit carbon dioxide. Somewhat convulsive movements of the caudal region bring oxygen and other gaseous substances into and out of the tracheae(Porch, 486-487). This creature is produced through sexual reproduction, which includes internal fertilization, in which the male butterfly deposits the sperm inside of the female (Porch, 504). While the female butterfly lays the eggs, they are fertilized by the sperm, which has been kept by the female in the seminal receptacle. The egg is placed by the ovipositor (Porch,490) on the tip of a leaf, which will later be used as the food source. The larva, whose main objective is to eat, spends his days hidden in leaves, occasionally venturing out to feed. After this season of hiding and periodical eating, the larva forms a cocoon about itself. Although it appears from the outside that nothing is happening, the larva is going through immense changes such as a complete reshaping of the organs and the formation of its wings. Hormones control the metamorphic process (Porch, 490). When the High Sailor emerges from the chrysalis, it appears as a lovely creature with wings that have a black and brown background with the addition of small white spots and lines around the edges. The wings of the Neptis alta are extremely delicate, and if you just so happen to touch its wing, the design will most likely come off. (Porch, 490)
The Neptis alta has been seen in many African countries, like Sierra Leone and Senegal..
- Neptis alta. Butterflies of Africa. Web. date of access: November 21, 2011. Adrian Hoskins.
- Neptis alta. Biodiversity Explorer. Web. date of access: October 26, 2011. Author Unknown.
- Species Database. African Butterfly Database. Web. date of access: November 8, 2011. Author Unknown.
- Porch, and Batdorf. Biology with Laboratory Exercises. South Carolina: Bob Jones University Press, 2005. 486-87. Print.
- Porch, and Batdorf. Biology with Laboratory Exercises. South Carolina: Bob Jones University Press, 2005. 490. Print.
- Porch, and Batdorf. Biology with Laboratory Exercises. South Carolina: Bob Jones University Press, 2005. 504. Print.