"Common Brimstone" (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Also simply known as the “brimstone”, the common brimstone is a species of Pierid butterfly which occurs in Europe, North Africa, and Asia east to Mongolia. Adult G. rhamni are relatively long lived with individuals emerging as early as January and leaving as late as August. Common brimstone larvae are known to feed solely on Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula). The wings of G. rhamni are an exceptional form of camouflage, as they imitate a leaf almost perfectly!

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Pieridae-Gonepteryx-G. rhamni

Image: Charlesjsharp

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Scientists Capture 1st Footage of Wild Red Pandas in Myanmar

by Shreya Dasgupta

This year, a team of scientists from the Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in Myanmar (also called Burma), caught a pair of reclusive red pandas on camera, for the first time ever. The bushy tailed pandas were climbing up a rocky pile of rubble left behind in the region by Chinese loggers. For the scientists, the footage was bitter-sweet.

“When we encountered the two red pandas, we felt two emotions at the same time; incredibly happy for the direct sighting and for obtaining this first exciting footage, but terribly saddened seeing the state of their habitat and threats to the species’ survival,” Saw Soe Aung, FFI’s field biologist who captured the couple on film, said in a press release

(read more: MongaBay)

The fruit of Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia.

This tree is now widely cultivated around the tropics. It is a dioecious, and the female trees produce a fruit that contains two valuable commodities: both once so sought after, various European colonial powers fought wars over their extraction.

These products are:

  • Mace: derived from the red aril
  • Nutmeg: derived from the brown seed

Most spices that are traditionally consumed during Christmas celebrations in the West are a result of histories European imperialist violence: cloves from Indonesia, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, and ginger from India and China, to name a few festive selections.

Nutmeg is no exception: in 1621, the Dutch forces and Japanese mercenaries brutally massacred over 14000 native Bandanese people in order to gain a monopoly on the Spice trade, and forced the mere 1000 survivors to work as slaves on Dutch-run nutmeg plantations. [x]

Not only a valuable spice and folk medicine, nutmeg is also a hallucinogen when consumed in large quantities. [x]

It’s all something to think about when you sprinkle a little bit on your eggnog this holiday season.

Read more online: “Nutmeg - The Unsavoury History of a Tasty Spice

Books: Indonesian Banda: Colonialism and Its Aftermath in the Nutmeg Islands

#seed morphology #botany #history #indigenous #colonialism #Asia