Orange Sulphur Butterfly

Orange sulphur butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Phipps Conservatory

There’s a funny thing about Colias Eurytheme. They are in our gardens, parks and downtowns. We see them all the time, but fewer than 1 in 100 people will be able to tell you their name. They live among us in nearly total obscurity. They are fun to follow, but in flight, soon zoom away. Female butterflies search for flowers with nectar and for males seeking females.

When I began seriously photographing butterflies many  years ago, I thought that these orange sulphurs were the dumbest of the lepidoptera. Why? Because they flew like maniacs, flying here, there, here again and then speeding down the trails for the next rounds of here,  there, here again. I now understand that those ‘maniacs’ were in fact not purposeless goofs, but instead they were males, methodically searching for mates. In fact they were tirelessly  flying for hours, and only  briefly resting once in a while.

The female butterfly in this photograph is frontally lit, and the light nicely displays her beautiful wings. She’s in a great place, the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory. Phipps is a nirvana for butterflies looking for nectar.

You might be wondering, “How do they get through our rough winters?” The answer is that pupa remain hidden and revision of their fluids enable them to survive. Neat,  huh?



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