False Apollo Butterfly at Mt. Meron

False Apollo butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

I set goals, I did. This February – March 2016 trip to Israel had me once again placing tabs on several pages of Dubi Benyamini’s field guide, A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel. My daughter Rachel and her family were fine and welcoming, now it was time to see butterflies that I’ve never seen before, or butterflies that I want better images of.

I’ve already posted here images of 3 butterflies closely related to swallowtails, The Clouded Apollo (the rarest of rare), Eastern Steppe Festoon and the Eastern Festoon. The missing 4th swallowtail relative? The False Apollo or Archon apollinus bellargus.

Last week of March I drove my Hertz rental from Mishmarot to the Upper Galilee. I checked into my field house accommodations at SPNI Meron, at the foot of Mt. Meron. Went to the nearest moshav (a type of village) to purchase my gluten-free/low salt food, and spent the next 3 days searching the SPNI Meron reserve, and area, venturing as far north as a tiny moshav, right, and I mean right up next to the Lebanon border (across which we may presume are Hezbollah terrorists or other such madmen).

Timing counts, no? Here I share with you a fresh Archon male. They flew low, and leisurely, and at that early hour, this one definitely wanted to warm his wings in the warmth of the early sun.

He just bedazzled me, with so much color in play, much of it rich to the reds, or blues or soft yellow, contrasted by broad sweeps of black, black in transition or what we shall call white. Long-time Followers know that my goal has long been to match or tweak the quality of field guide images. Jeff is a Happy boy here. A protected butterfly, usually difficult to impossible to find.

Jeff

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