Azanus Jesous Butterfly

Azanus Jesous Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

This ventral (underside) view of this small and very pretty butterfly complements our dorsal image post. She’s fully occupied, drinking nectar from Camphor weed. Her hindwing eyespots feature striking little silver-blue scales. A very nice touch on an already beautiful butterfly.

This image and other Binyamina, Israeli butterflies are satisfying for us to photograph. We walked the agricultural field roads, camera in hand, expecting minimal success. We were rewarded by finding young and active butterfly populations, despite the November dates.

What are these butterflies common names? We continue to wait for feedback from Israeli friends and family.

Azanus Jesous and Azanus Ubaldus are among the most viewed of all of the 187 posts on The most obvious reason for that remains something of a mystery.


Variegated Fritillary Butterfly

Variegated Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland

It’s October at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge, Maryland, and we’re looking at eye candy on the wing.  This Euptoieta Claudia would certainly raise the eyebrows of the artisans in the Cartier studios.

He is sipping nectar at the Butterfly Garden at the National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, and is treating us with just the right background blooms.

Fritillaries are exquisite when they are young. This male offers the full menu of color and patter for this species: rich orange-brown, yellow central banding on all 4 wings, orange spots surrounded by a black border in forewing cells of each wing, black veins and submarginal black spots.

Their nectar diet is not limited to a single flower. So, these generalists drink nectar from passionflowers, pansies, violets, and a menu of other flowering species.

We’ve posted other Variegated Frits. They are generally intolerant of my approach with a camera. Each of our posted images is the result of many, many attempts to score premium images.

Euptoieta Claudia is best known as a southeastern U.S. species. We have many fritillary species here and in the western United States.  It will be awhile before I have western ones safe and secure in my Neumade cabinet of slides.



Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

This has been a good Spring for Nymphalis Antiopa. These Mourning Cloak Butterflies are plentiful along the trails in Frick Park. They favor trails that cut through a forest. Today Petra (my black russian terrier) had just left the Frick Off Leash Exercise Area, when we saw a young Mourning Cloak butterfly flying at the forest edge. It responded to us by flying up into a cherry tree blanketed with sensational blooms. I thought about how this butterfly depends heavily on scat only to realize that it was sipping on nectar from cherry flowers. Petra and I waited there for at least 2 minutes. Yes, it was still methodically and slowly moving from flower to flower. Mourning Cloaks are not that predictable!

This image is of a different Mourning Cloak butterfly, at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s late Spring and the yellow marginal bands are scrumptious-looking. There’s no northeastern butterfly like the Mourning Cloak. I want you to notice those two blue spots on its left forewing, as sweet as they are. I LOVE those Sky Blue spots. I do.

One of my short term goals for these coming weeks is to capture an image of a Mourning Cloak that is better than those that I already have. Nuts, huh?



Azanus Ubaldus Butterfly

Azanus Jesous Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

In the last year I’ve walked down streets in Pittsburgh, PA; Savannah, GA; Irvine, CA; Brooklyn, NY; Jerusalem, Israel and New York, NY. People watching is quite interesting. I always see an infinite number of faces, shapes, dresses, types of walk, etc. You never know who you will see next. Will they exchange glances? Will they greet you with a “Hello!”  Will they reciprocate your joy of living, joy of experiencing live in its fullest, and for the near future, joy of your freedom from chaos, mayhem and evil?

So it is when you move through a habitat to find and photograph butterflies. You already know most of them, and they don’t vary much from one to the next, until? Well this female caught my eye while I was photographing the site of an 800 year old, excavated synagogue in Ein Gedi, Israel. It was a tiny butterfly; her proboscis was actively collecting nectar from this bush, and she tolerated my careful approach. Azanus Ubaldus populations are found from the Dead Sea south to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula and then along the western coast of the Sinai (D. Benyamini, A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Israel). Moments later, she is gone!

The feeling of satisfaction that follows an encounter with a butterfly I’ve not ever met before is . . . Well you know the feeling. We all experience it, however it is triggered in each of us.


Variegated Fritillary Butterfly

Variegated Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Mosquitoes were wolf-packing me as I moved along the dikes of this one-time rice farm. I was paying the price for my adventure. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, is just a 25 minute drive from Tybee Island. I spent my mornings at this lush refuge, followed by lazy August afternoons at the beach, and then evenings exploring Savannah. If OFF had been 100% protective, this trip would have been perfect.

We’ve posted dorsal images of Euptoieta Claudia. This shot offers a view of the ventral wing coloration and form. The seriousness of this butterfly’s focus on eating nectar is one of several reasons for concluding that it’s a female. The wildflower is likely a Verbena. Clarification from one of my readers would be greatly appreciated.

Variegated Fritillaries favor the same habitat as do Gulf Fritillaries. Both butterflies are strikingly beautiful; bejeweled, if you will. I was so busy moving with my camera from one Variegated Fritillary to an equally comely Gulf Fritillary that I only later realized that my shield against mosquitoe bites was partially successful.

That’s what I love about Fritillary Butterflies. When the table is set with nectar-pumping wildflowers, these Brushfoots can be easily approached and photographed. They value the sweet nectar, and single-mindedly devour it. So find a fresh Fritillary, follow it to a nearby suitable bloom and follow our suggested Technique approach. It’s all worth it when eye-candy such as this butterfly is yours to enjoy and remember.