Prefers late summer nights, during the rest of the year it is modest and invisible just like a true Estonian. Someone with good imagination may notice blue underwing’s ethnic pattern just like on mittens located on its frontal wings. It spreads its back wings rarely – they have blue-black-white colour pattern, just like on Estonian flag. This is one of our largest moths.
The Drinker is the only butterfly of Estonia that is active all year around. It flies during summer nights and features colors of national clothes on its wings. During winter thaw one may find a caterpillar moving through snow – it has blue-black-white colour and joyous yellow spots. This savvy caterpillar is a true hero of winter north, since it spends whole winter in snow.
Camberwell beauty is a forest butterfly which has been living along humans in forests since ancient times. This butterfly in dark tones is known as a messenger of disturbing news in Estonian folk tradition. In other countries the butterfly’s wing pattern used to be interpreted sometimes in brighter tones. For example, it was chosen as a butterfly of Montana State in USA.
Moorland clouded yellow
Moorland clouded yellow butterfly is our usual inhabitant of raised bogs. Raised bog is a pleasant and mysterious place. Thanks to preservation of raised bogs we can meet moorland clouded yellow near such bogs. This butterfly’s flight is a symbol of gratitude to humans who managed to preserve its habitat.
Clouded Apollo is a sunny butterfly and it has its own requirements towards environment. The butterfly’s fate depends mostly on our traditional lifestyle and conservation of its habitat. On mainland Estonia clouded Apollo is doing well, however on the island of Saaremaa this subspecies became extinct.
Common yellow swallowtail
Common yellow swallowtail is a daily butterfly of tropical species. Just like Estonians like to gather on hill sides for the joint choir singing, swallowtails often congregate atop of things during mating flights. Swallowtail’s caterpillars are colourful as well. When the butterfly is feeling threatened it releases orange appendages from its head – these are glands secreting liquid with pungent odour. Sometimes swallowtail caterpillars can be found on dill beds. In Mexico swallowtail butterfly accompanies the goddess of love.
Common brimstone is one of the first butterflies to fly during springtime and in autumn it is one of the last ones to leave for winter. In Estonian folklore it is known as a fortune teller butterfly – it has important colour symbolism as the first spring butterfly. Depending on territory, this butterfly symbolized warm golden summer or boring and monotonous summer. Meeting of the first yellow butterfly during spring promised good harvest of butter, and therefore it was recommended to feed the first yellow butterfly to a cow – in order to make butter yellow. Common brimstone is a forest butterfly, and as a good flyer it is, it can be met almost anywhere. Common brimstone is a long-liver among butterflies, however most of the butterfly’s life passes somewhere in the cracks during winter.
Garden tiger moth
Garden tiger moth caterpillars are long-livers – they evolve throughout two years. According to folklore, dark hairy caterpillars host souls of dead dogs (translation of the name of the butterfly from the Estonian language – daytime dog). Tiger moth’s butterfly likes to fly during summer nights, its pattern on the wings is pretty contrasting and one may find blue-black-white colour combination on it.
Eyed hawk-moth is a clever butterfly - it can make itself look bigger than it is. Once someone suddenly approaches this butterfly, it scares them away with eye spots which open on its rear wings. Its caterpillar has a threatening look as well – it has a tail at the end of its body which looks like a sting. In reality, however, its eye spots and sting are safe.