Apharitis Cilissa (2) and Vladimir

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon

Funny how our previous post of this perky! little Hairstreak, encountered on Mt. Hermon in Israel, met with much interest from Israeli lepidopterists but not so from our broader audience? Pity, because she is just gorgeous, don’t you think? I made great effort to capture the silvery shine when the sun struck those hindwing spots, but you see I was only partly successful in that. What is nice here is the crisp, likable coloration and spotting of the ventral (below) wings. Her 2 pairs of tails are seen, too. Bulbous abdomen and that pose, so reminiscent for me of dogs set-up in the ring at Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show in New York.

This rare, protected species, so serendipitous for me (remember, right place, right time on the mountain = Yay!) on a Centaurea, or what could it be? I am now reading Nabokov’s Butterflies (edited and annotated by Boyd & Pyle). Excerpts from an exchange of letter between Jerusalem‘s Teddy Kolleck and Nabokov, in 1976, encouraged me. Nabokov (the renowned author and distinguished student of butterflies) wrote, “I have been eager for quite a time to make this journey [to Israel] bad time for me. I have been hospitalized for several months. I would like to come with my wife in the second week of May. I am also looking forward to, of course, some butterfly collecting (in the company of an experienced and robust male guide).” He was never able to join the millions who are fortunate enough to make this trip each year. Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977.

Can you imagine seeking butterflies on Mt. Meron or Mt. Hermon, with a Vladimir Nabokov? My field trips are solitary ones. Although I have never enjoyed such an experience, at the same time I miss the opportunity. Of course I only photograph. I have swung a net once, and it didn’t suit me. Our  knowledge of butterflies, for example of the blues (Nabokov’s most fervent pursuit), is largely due to the butterfly net, though.

I was fortunate enough to visit Israel and its 2 northern mountains. Good. Quite good.



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