Middle East Parnassian (Protected)

Allancastria Cerisyi Speciosa butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

Not a single Parnassian Butterfly east of the Mississippi River. I’d never seen one of these beautiful butterflies, until my March 2015 trip to Israel’s Upper Galilee region. They fly in limited habitat, within 100 yards of the Israeli-Lebanon border. They fly in March, and I jumped into my rental car, and there I went.

Back yesterday from weeks in central Georgia, and days in Florida’s Panhandle (Wow! to both, and more about that in the coming days and weeks), we can finally share the diverse images that I captured there.

This male could not be followed, flying at great speed, and making sharp turns, as though IDF trained. But it was very early, and he and the others stopped often to sip nectar from native flowers. Approach could be made, for he was fully focused on fueling-up.

Allancastria Cerisyi Speciosa. Rare, protected and gorgeous, with its yellow, black, red and blue hindwing spots.

I am learning that rare butterflies can be seen if you know where they can be found (Thank you Dubi Benyamini), you can be there when they fly, you can travel there, get good weather and respect the OMG! of their limited existence.

A butterfly protected by Israel. Just 300 feet ( meters? ) from the very dangerous border. We both enjoyed the morning, Parnassian and I.

Jeff