Monday, April 28, 2008

Swarms of magic

image: dbz885
Where ever we walk near greenery we are accompanied by a magical array of gorgeous butterflies.

Clustering to feed from midges among the ruins or swarming to drink by creeks, they have been quite noticeable, and often large and colourful.

image: audrey sel

But it may be only the tourists who are in awe.
According to BBC News, in 2000 a scheme in Vietnam to pay villagers to destroy crop-eating butterfly larvae hit problems when they killed 3.5 million grubs in three days.

Officials at Xuan Loc village in northern Phu Tho province had offered 1,000 dong (about 7c) for every 50 dead caterpillars. But in three nights the villagers killed so many of the grubs that officials were unable to pay them.

The incentive certainly works - a similar programme in September 1999 resulted in the death of 1.25 million mice at one cent a time.

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