Friday, February 26, 2010

A colorful example

of the predator/prey model.

It is breeding season for butterflies, & the backyard is full of them. Mainly yellow, but interspersed with black & brown & ultramarine varieties.

Kingfishers feed on them; so there are also more kingfishers around than there usually are.

I do not know how many butterflies a kingfisher can eat in a day but, judging from their activity & the number of times they return, I would guess it would be more than a few.

Additionally, butterflies are fairly ephemeral—they mate, the female lays her eggs, they both die. Natural attrition.

Soon they will have almost disappeared, leaving only lizards as food for the kingfishers. There are only a few lizards, & they are far less naive, less trusting, than the butterflies. & far less visible. They live in concealed spaces—one currently has a small portion of its head protruding from a hole in the brick wall near to where I sit to smoke—have protective coloring, are often quite large. Too large for a kingfisher. Are kookaburra food. Kookaburras are members of the kingfisher family. Big Brother takes over.

There are only sufficient smaller lizards to support one kingfisher.

The other kingfishers will leave. The kookaburras will still come round.

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