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15 June 2020


Palau: Butterflies, 15 June 2020. Images from Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation.

Technical Specifications:

BUTTERFLIES 2x SHEETLETS 8V 2 x $1.00, 2 x $1.50, 2 x $2, $2.50, $5
Country: Palau
Topic: Fauna and Flora, Insects, Butterflies
Item Numbers: PAL2003SH, PAL2004SH
Date of Issue: 15-Jun-20
Printing Method: Offset lithography
In both perforated and imperforate varieties

$1 Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Pieris rapae is a small- to medium-sized butterfly species of the whites-and-yellows family Pieridae. It is known in Europe as the small white, in North America as the cabbage white or cabbage butterfly, on several continents as the small cabbage white, and in New Zealand simply as the white butterfly. The butterfly is recognizable by its white color with small black dots on its wings, and it can be distinguished from P. brassicae by the smaller size and lack of the black band at the tip of their forewings.

The caterpillar of this species, often referred to as the “imported cabbageworm”, is a pest to crucifer crops such as cabbage, kale, bok choy and broccoli. Pieris rapae is widespread in Europe and Asia; it is believed to have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Europe, and to have spread across Eurasia thanks to the diversification of brassicaceous crops and the development of human trade routes. Over the past two centuries, it has also spread to North Africa, North America, New Zealand, and Australia, as a result of accidental introductions.

$1.50 Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)

Heliconius charithonia, the zebra longwing or zebra heliconian, is a species of butterfly belonging to the subfamily Heliconiinae of the family Nymphalidae. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1767 12th edition of Systema Naturae. The boldly striped black and white wing pattern is aposematic, warning off predators.

The species is distributed across South and Central America and as far north as southern Texas and peninsular Florida; there are migrations north into other American states in the warmer months.

Zebra longwing adults roost communally at night in groups of up to 60 adults for safety from predators. The adult butterflies are unusual in feeding on pollen as well as on nectar; the pollen enables them to synthesize cyanogenic glycosides that make their bodies toxic to potential predators. Caterpillars feed on various species of passionflower, evading the plants’ defensive trichomes by biting them off or laying silk mats over them.

Mass spraying of naled has decimated the zebra longwing population in Miami-Dade County, Florida[citation needed]. There has been mass collapse of the colonies with impacts on the balance of the ecosystem. Further studies are needed to evaluate any potential for recolonization.

$2 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Vanessa atalanta, the red admiral or, previously, the red admirable, is a well-characterized, medium-sized butterfly with black wings, red bands, and white spots. It has a wingspan of about 2 inches (5 cm). It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae. The red admiral is widely distributed across temperate regions of North Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. It resides in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring and sometimes again in autumn. Typically found in moist woodlands, the red admiral caterpillar’s primary host plant is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica); it can also be found on the false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica). The adult butterfly drinks from flowering plants like Buddleia and overripe fruit. Red admirals are territorial; females will only mate with males that hold territory. Males with superior flight abilities are more likely to successfully court females. It is known as an unusually people-friendly butterfly, often landing on and using humans as perches.

$2.50, $5 Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Battus philenor, the pipevine swallowtail or blue swallowtail, is a swallowtail butterfly found in North America and Central America. This butterfly is black with iridescent-blue hindwings. They are found in many different habitats, but are most commonly found in forests. Caterpillars are often black or red, and feed on compatible plants of the genus Aristolochia. They are known for sequestering acids from the plants they feed on in order to defend themselves from predators by being poisonous when consumed. The adults feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers. Some species of Aristolochia are toxic to the larvae, typically tropical varieties. While enthusiasts have led citizen efforts to conserve pipevine swallowtails in their neighborhoods on the West coast, the butterfly has not been the subject of a formal program in conservation or protected in legislation. The butterfly is however of “Special Concern” in Michigan, which is on the Northern limit of its range.

The Republic of Palau currently utilizes the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation as its stamp production agent.  As a result, many of its issues have little to no relevance with topics related to the island.

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