"A butterfly goes wherever it pleases, and pleases wherever it goes."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Day 1 in Tam Dao


Hi Cade and Elizabeth, thanks for writing! I learned, Cade, that the colder the habitat the longer life a butterfly will have. However, most butterflies only live about the same length as our painted ladies. And, you might be surprised to learn that there are painted ladies here in Vietnam!

After staying one night in Hanoi, I met up with my team members and the lead scientist, Vu Van Lien, and we drove to Tam Dao National Park, where I am now and will spend the rest of my time in Vietnam. Last night we had a monsoon.

Today (Sunday, May 12th) Vu Van Lien explained to us what we will be doing for the rest of the week. I learned some interesting facts about butterflies from him. Here are just a few:

Years ago someone paid $100,000 dollars (that’s American dollars) for a very rare butterfly specimen found in Vietnam. Now people raise and sell this particular species of butterfly for $100.

Female butterflies don’t spend much time looking for food. Instead, they get most of their nutrients and energy from the male butterflies, who do spend most of their time looking for nectar. The females spend their time looking for plants that the eggs they lay can eat when they hatch (yes hatch—they eggs hatch, the caterpillars ____________).

Some female butterflies lay their eggs on the wrong plants. When their eggs hatch, the caterpillars die from lack of food.

Not all caterpillars eat leaves—some eat flowers.

Butterflies are most active during the hours of 9 am and 4 pm. After that many of them rest.

Question number 1: Please look up “monsoon” in a dictionary and post what it is for others to read. You could also look it up in Encarta.
Question number 2: Is there anything you collect that you might pay a lot of money for? Share!
Question number 3: Birds are just one of many different butterfly predators (in other words, birds are one type of animal that eats butterflies). Can you think of any other kinds of animals that eat butterflies? Take a guess!

Don’t forget to type your name into your response so that I know who wrote each comment!

P.S. I would like to upload more photographs--I've taken over 200 so far, but I have a really slow connection, so slow that it took me 30 minutes to open this account and post!


Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel, Thanks for replying. Definition of monsoon from Dictionary.com: a seasonal wind in southern Asia; blows from the southwest (bringing rain) in summer and from the northeast in winter. How windy was it?. and how much rain did you get? Butterflies might also get eaten by lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, cats, fish (sometimes fish jump out of the water and eat insects), bats, and spiders. Boy it's a scary world for a butterfly! I was wondering if there are large and/or poisonous spiders in the jungle where you are? Have you seen any? How many species of butterflies are in the area where you are? How many have you seen? What was the most interesting thing you saw while you were in Hanoi? Hope you are having fun. Cade

Rachel said...

Hi Cade--I think you got all of the predators correct! Wow! There are some large spiders here, but they are not dangerous. We've seen about 30 different butterfly species so far. You also got the definition of a monsoon correct. We have them nearly every day. I don't know how much rain we've gotten because I have no access to news whatsoever and there are no newspapers here! I am having a lot of fun but I also can't wait to get back to the U.S. for the Montana trip. Today I saw my first wild mammal--a rat, who ran across the road. Lots of dogs--I'm going to post their photos soon, some chickens, even saw some pigs today but that's about it. Oh yeah, there are cats here, and I sit with one on my lap every day at the internet cafe where I log onto a computer that is VERY slow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel!
I cant belive your connection is that slow!
the class is leaving got to go right you later!

Anonymous said...

Hello Rachel-
The word monsoon means a heavy rain fall. Joy said she had been in many of them, why do you bring it up? I cant wait too see you and dont forget to post a gabcast so I can hear your voice! I hope you got my moms cell phone number. did you? what is your favorite "exotic" food so far? post soon!
Miss you a TON
Elizabeth C.

Anonymous said...

I am on the internet with Elizabeth and just wanted to say hello.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,
How is life in Veitnam? Are you making friends with the other teachers on the trip? I looked up the exact words,"animals of Vietnam" and this one of the things it came up with. If you have the time check it out it is a very interesting article. Here are the steps in finding this article:
1) Type animals of Vietnam into google, MSN, Yahoo, any searching bar (I suggest google).

2)Look for the article called, "Veitnam's vanishing Wildlife" and then click it.

3)and enjoy!

I also meant to tell you that I made a blog just for you it tells you what happened here so if you would like to see it it is at:
go see it!

Miss you even more,

Three Teachers--Jeff, Rachel and Beth

Three Teachers--Jeff, Rachel and Beth

Red and Yellow

Red and Yellow
This one is beautiful and also quite common

Rare Green Butterfly

Rare Green Butterfly
This one is drinking water from a waterfall we hiked to

Tam Dao Classroom

Tam Dao Classroom
Yes, this is an actual classroom being used

Rachel at a Classroom Teacher's Desk in Tam Dao Primary and Secondary School

Rachel at a Classroom Teacher's Desk in Tam Dao Primary and Secondary School
Yes, this is an actual teacher desk

Tam Dao was once a summer retreat for wealthy French families when France occupied Vietnam

Tam Dao was once a summer retreat for wealthy French families when France occupied Vietnam
This is what's left of one French villa--there were over 400 here at one time, but were destroyed by the Vietnamese people in the 1950s

Hanoi Time