Have You Seen This Regal?

Regal Fritillary Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pennsylvania

Watching the Jeopardy College Championship Episodes on TV came to mind as I examined this photograph of a Regal fritillary butterfly, taken on June 10, 2015. Jeopardy often asks their contestants questions about British royalty. I’m impressed that when asked, the college kids responded.

In the United States we don’t have our own royalty. We did better than that with George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. We do keep an eye out for British royalty. We missed Princess Di and the young gallivanting princes, as well as her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. As far as we know none who frequent wingedbeauty have ever met royalty, have you?

Reduced to a single site east of the Mississippi River, our Regal fritillary butterflies are so few in number, that these Regals have become our own butterfly royalty. This male here, a hunk, lives with his species mates in a very extensive meadow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, guarded and patrolled by the U.S. Armed Forces.

I met this butterfly and many of his royal entourage at the Fort. As expected, I was thrilled to do so. How many of you have been so fortunate? Thank goodness for this military post, and its role in stopping the extirpation of this gorgeous butterfly.

Occasionally, in conversation with other butterfly fans, we ask, as if we were 7-year olds, Why aren’t more people interested in seeing and conserving butterflies? All of us are capable thinkers, and rarely are we able to respond to that one, to our own satisfaction. Such is life . . .

Jeff

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