“Stupid Beagle!”


“Let me guess. What is that stupid beagle doing, looking for a butterfly to chase, maybe?”


The Byodo-In Temple Koi

On a visit to O’ahu in November, I went to the Valley of the Temples in Kaneohe with my cousin. The Byodo-In Temple has two acres of koi ponds that have two resident black swans and lots of small snapping turtles as well.

The temple is a half-size replica of a 950-year-old temple in Uji, Japan, near Kyoto. It has appeared in episodes of Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I., as well as standing in for South Korea in the first season of the TV show Lost.


Here are a few koi: orange-and-white, orange-and-black, and a calico!


More koi! (The koi ponds cover two acres)


Here is one of the swans. Add a black swan to orange and white koi to get the calico palette!


Red Panda As A Calico!


Red_Panda (Photo credit: anirbanbiswas_c8)

Maybe I’m one of the last to know, but I hadn’t knowingly seen a Red panda until I saw a photo of one on poet Kelli Agodon’s blog, Book of Kells: http://ofkells.blogspot.com. Kelli describes the Red panda–a panda related to the raccoon and skunk–as looking like it’s wearing “a black onesie,” which is a darn cute description.

But I’m especially interested in the Red panda’s calico coloration.

I didn’t know that the nickname of the Red panda is “Firefox.” And yes, that means the Mozilla Firefox operating system is named after the Red panda and has an image of the Red panda as its logo. I never noticed that either. I assumed that Firefox and the image on its logo was a red fox! (Now I have to go open up my Firefox just to look at the panda logo. I don’t like to use Firefox, even though it’s more functional for lots of websites than Safari is.)

I haven’t read anything yet about any adaptive reason for the red + black + white coloration on this small panda (11 pounds at maturity), but if anyone knows something about it, please write a comment or post a link there. These little pandas eat primarily bamboo-but only the tenderest young shoots–and live in high-altitude areas of India, China, Nepal, and other countries throughout the Himalayan region. They live in densely vegetated (and green) areas, so again, I’m not understanding the survival reason for the red and black coloration, except that I could imagine that, if the Red panda is up in a tree, it would be harder to spot because its black belly could read as part of the shade of a tree or bamboo.

As for the calico palette with green: I will go out on a limb (so to speak) and say that I’ve been seeing green coming up as a common contrast color. We saw that here on Catty Callie with the calico photo from Morocco: http://cattycallie.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/more-calico-aesthetic/ . I’ve found some other photographs and artwork with calicos in which green is prominent. I’ll post some of those in the future.

Here are a few photos of the Red panda:

Red Panda

Red Panda (Photo credit: photoverulam)

English: Red panda wrestling

English: Red panda wrestling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ailurus fulgens, red panda.

Red panda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red Panda

Red Panda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A “Calico Butterfly Fairy”

Yes, you read that right.

It’s actually the title of a painting of a calico cat with monarch butterly wings that’s available as notecards.

My friend Ada found it after reading my previous post about monarch butterflies belonging in the calico color palette. She got curious and googled “calico butterfly.” She found this image and wrote me, “This cinches it, there is nothing you can’t find on the Internet.”

Since neither she nor I could get the calico cat-butterfly fairy image to upload, you’ll have to click on the link to Zazzle.com and see the mash-up for yourself! (The image is from a painting by Pamela Fleming.)

Calico Butterfly Fairy Cat Greeting Card from Zazzle.com.

This is a link to Fleming’s online store, MagicalTails, where she has more “Fantasy Cat and Nature Paintings” — a concept which sends my mind into kind of a sickening tailspin of cuteness overload, so you’ve been warned!


Meanwhile, back in my world of catty calicos, I’m pretty sure this cat saying,

“Hey, are you calling me a fairy, lady?!!”

English: Close up view of the face of a Calico...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Monarch Butterfly–Also Calico!

My daughter recently got some monarch butterfly caterpillars from a friend, and we kept them until they hatched from their chrysalides and then released them once their wings had fully unfurled and dried. Here is what the caterpillar looks like:

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpi...

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillar feeding on a leaf of the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s one of the hatched butterflies as I released it onto hydrangeas in our yard:




On hydrangea


I never thought of these butterflies as calico, or tricolor, but there you have it!

One resource I read notes that, “[t]he orange and black color pattern is often thought to be a warning signal to predators.” (www.monarchwatch.org/read/articles/nivosus.htm)

Monarchs are unpalatable to birds, “due to the ingestion of cardenolides from milkweed host plants” when they are larvae (ibid).


Now here is the next one ready to go out to the garden. I got it in the same picture with Callie without risking its life . . . which was easier said than done!


Callie With Butterfly

The Word “Calico”

I was thinking about the origin of the word calico and decided I should do a little searching. One of the first things I found was this blog post, from a fun Google Search-themed blong, on the definition of “calico”:


Calico loom

Calico loom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, the premise of the blog itself is interesting–Carly searches for any and everything on Google and posts the results of those searches. So Carly’s mention of the weavers of Calicut and the “calico” fabric that made its way to England made me think I’d better go to the source, the Oxford English Dictionary, to get the history of the word “calico”‘s adoption in English. Here’s the OED’s etymology for calico:

“Pronunciation:  /ˈkælɪkəʊ/

Forms:  α. 15 ( Calȝecot), callicutt, 15–16 calecut, 15–17 callicutcalicut, 15-16 calicute, 16–17 callicot. β. 15 kalykocalyco,calocowe, ( callagacallaca), 15–17 callico(e, 16–17 calicoe, 16– calico.
Etymology:  In 16–17th cent. also calicut , from the name of the Indian city (sense 1), called in Malayalam Kōlịkōdụ, in Arabic Qaliqūt, medieval Latin (Conti) Collicuthia, Portuguese Qualecut (V. de Gama), Calecut (Camoens). It is not clear how the form calico, occurring in 1540 as kalyko, arose; it may have been merely an English corruption; the French calicot has been suggested as the intermediate form, but the age of this is uncertain.”

So even the OED doesn’t know that much about it! I like how the etymology trails off into speculation–that a French word may have been involved–but doesn’t bother going into it. That’s lazy, or at least overly brief research, in my book! I’ll look into the French etymology of calicot another time and see what that yields.

Now here is another–more colorful (yes, calico)–definition of calico from the Free Dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/calico

Noun 1. calico – coarse cloth with a bright print

clothfabrictextilematerial – artifact made by weaving or felting or knitting or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers; “the fabric in the curtains was light and semitransparent”; “woven cloth originated in Mesopotamia around 5000 BC”; “she measured off enough material for a dress”
Adj. 1. calico – made of calico or resembling calico in being patterned; “calico dresses”; “a calico cat”
2. calico - having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightlycalico – having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightly; “a jester dressed in motley”; “the painted desert”; “a particolored dress”; “a piebald horse”; “pied daisies”

coloredcolouredcolorful – having color or a certain color; sometimes used in combination; “colored crepe paper”; “the film was in color”; “amber-colored heads of grain”

I particularly like that this definition brings in the word “motley,” “piebald,” and “pied”–I like that they are so many ways that we try to represent that mixed, the mutt, the blended, the brinded, and the tutti-fruitti that is our world.  I especially love the mention of “pied daises” in the definition above, because that brings us back to G.M. Hopkins’ poem “Pied Beauty,” which is the poetic theme song, if you will, for Catty Callie!

"When daisies pied" Swanage, Dorset

“When daisies pied” Swanage, Dorset (Photo credit: Alwyn Ladell)

The phrase “When daisies pied” comes from a song at the close of Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labour Lost. It starts as a celebration of spring, but ends with a caution to married men to know that the sound of the cuckoo means they could be cuckolds:

“When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men . . . .”

And to close, here is a “pied” bird from India, to keep with the ‘calico’-came-from-Calcutta topic:

Pied Starling in India

Pied Starling in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)