On the last day of March I found a colourful caterpillar on the wall of my garden and took it into my house to take photos. I have a vivarium and placed it on a leaf where it sat and began placing fine threads of silk near its head. I recognised this behaviour from a similar event at a different house at the end of 2004.
The next day I found that the caterpillar had removed its skin and had attached its new chrysalis form to the leaf. At this point the chrysalis was a pinkish colour and lay horizontal on the leaf.
Within a day the chrysalis had turned gold in colour – bright and metallic. I then cut the leaf before gluing it to a stick that I had suspended within the vivarium. This enabled the chrysalis to hang in a natural state until it was ready for the final stage of its metamorphosis.
On the 6th of April I returned from work at lunchtime to find that I had unfortunately missed the “birth” of the butterfly! It had emerged, had spread and dried its wings and was ready to fly. I took a couple of photographs before releasing the insect into a patch of wild vegetation next to the house. I believe the butterfly was a Mexican Fritillary. We seem to have a few species of similar-looking fritillaries in the area – I have counted a minimum of 12 different types of butterfly in just 4 square metres of the vegetation next to my house, including Swallow-tailed species.
In 2004 (and again in 2005) several caterpillars of Opsiphanes invirea, Owl butterfly, had marched up to my front door. I placed them in the vivarium and was able to do some time-lapse photography to capture the caterpillars suspending themselves to the roof of the glass tank, emerging in chrysalis form, and later as butterflies. Fascinating.
Scientific name: Euterope oleracea
Other names: Acai, acai berry, assai,
Acai fruit grows on palm trees close to the waters of the Amazon and its tributaries. Its fruit are processed to produce acai “wine”, a stable food in the Amazon Region, while its palm trunk yields palm heart, though palmito (palm heart) is more common in the Jussara palm (Euterpe edulis)
Its fruit are the size of cherries and a rich source of antioxidant. While it can be eaten in the form of “wine” in the area in which it grows (usually unsweetened pure juice with or without meat or seafood), it is exported in freeze dried form for production of ice cream, juice and cosmetics.
Acai is rich in antioxidants.
Getting accurate nutritional value is difficult since most measurements are based on the freeze-dried powder and not on the fresh fruit. The powder is used to make frozen smoothie style products and ice cream which have different calorific contents.
Based on freeze dried pulp and skin (100g):
carbohydrates 52.2 g of which 44.2g is dietary fibre
Protein 8.1 g
total fat 32.5 g
vitamin C negligible
calcium 260 mg
iron 4.4 mg
vitamin A 1002 U
Very high antioxidant benefits (said to be the highest among all natural foods.
ASG images library:
We have hundreds of acai images in stock and can shoot to order. At one point we had a specialist site (www.shootacai.com) though this is no longer supported.
NB: While Alan Skyrme has a number of diplomas in Nutrition it is strongly recommended that the latest available analyses of the nutritional contents and benefits are obtained from appropriate sources. Those provided here are indicative only and may be out of date.