Parnassius Mnemosyne (Protected) (2)

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

This one stayed in my Neumade metal slide cabinet since my June 2008 trip to the peak of Mt. Hermon. Every butterfly I spotted on the mountain top denied me an easy approach (See our Technique feature). So the slides came back from the lab, and sure enough, they were not perfect…my subjects just kept moving, shifting and fleeing. Found only on Mt. Hermon, at the northernmost tip of Israel, this Parnassius m. only barely tolerated my presence. What an annoyance I was, she seemed to be concluding . . . then, zip! She jetted away, out of sight. I saw just 2 of them that day, and the second was a distance from me, and on the move.

With War! at the base of the mountain (Syria!), I was unable to return to the mountain in June 2013. No civilians were permitted up the mountain. Earlier, in March 2012, we couldn’t photograph butterflies up there because . . . the summit was snow-covered. Magnificent, but its butterflies were not flying.

So this image, now much more valuable to me, has deeper significance, and looks much, much better to me. War! Preparation for armed conflict.Infilitration by terrorists. Land mines that were supposed to have been removed . . . but were missed, and still waiting . . . (See our earlier post, when Eran Banker discovered one right where I was working the top for Leps).

The U.S. has Parnassius species. I’ve yet to see one. Here’s Israel’s Parnassius. They are most closely related to the swallowtails. Ahhhhh, if only one of our American butterfly scholars would share how?

Jeff

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