Once every so often, I reflect on my butterfly fascination. When some of you share your image captures, I Ooh! and Ahh! Some of you, truth be told, produce excellent, A+ work. Jeff experiences that 1/100 of a second of doubt, some sort of a throwback to maybe junior high school self-consciousness.
That’s when I regroup, so to speak, and recall the fun I have when I am on trail, when a Wow! butterfly appears, and we play ‘lion stalks zebra,’ ’til I get the images I want, or not. I recall how sweetly many of you receive my work, and reward me with encouragement and sometimes praise. I reconsider the expen$e of some of my travel, the co$t of scoring the third image down, a Clytie Ministreak butterfly, found at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.
But most of all, I smile, for I Love the beautiful color and pattern of butterflies, and I savor the rich real-time color that my Fuji Velvia slide film delivers,.
Four butterflies that bring a smile to this once kid from Brooklyn’s mean streets.
It’s known as the American Snout Butterfly. It’s habitat extends from Massachusetts to Southern California. It makes unscheduled appearances from Maine to the Dakotas and from Oklahoma to Nevada. That’s a whole lot of habitat. Snouts like to be close enough to Hackberry trees and shrubs.
What is most remarkable about this species of brushfoot butterfly? They get No Respect (apologies to Mr. Dangerfield). They are the ‘So what?’ ‘Who cares’ butterfly.’
Only in big years in Texas do you see Snouts in any appreciable numbers. They are almost always seen as solitary individuals, except for the brief interactions when male discovers a reluctant female.
Why don’t they spark excitement? Well they only briefly generate excitement . . . until it is realized that it is ‘Only a snout.’
Snouts sport muted colors and they have those elongated palps, making them look, well, kind of silly. I no longer stand them up against the Jimmy Durante legend (Vaudeville star, from Brooklyn, NY, who had a sandpaper voice, was very likable and had a big schnazola. Almost no one remembers Jimmy Durante, is the reason.
Snouts flew around the town greens, when the Patriots were devising their future strategies, but even though snouts are native butterflies, no credit comes their way.
When you are having that kind of day, when you seem well, invisible, you may easily empathize with this American snout. Invisible in plain view.
Here’s to one of the most undervalued of American butterflies. Once upon a time, on smaller, rather poorly defined U.S. TV screens, there was an entertainer who wasn’t handsome, wasn’t well dressed, wasn’t Ivy-League polished, and wasn’t from Atlanta, Los Angeles or New Orleans. He had a rather noticeable nose, and he had an even more noticeable Brooklyn vocabulary. Jimmy Durante was his name, and his fame would baffle just about 99.99% of folks today.
This American Snout butterfly was found taking a break from its routine, in the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in downtown Eatonton, Georgia. Rarely, maybe never, does a Snout generate the excitement registered when we see a Monarch, or a Giant Swallowtail or a Zebra Heliconian butterfly. That even with the acknowledgement that they are never very numerous and their appearance is never much predictable.
They do cause something of a rush when they flash that blaze of Florida orange color, and for me, they evoke the memory of that Super Famous entertainer of time begone, Jimmy Durante, who couldn’t much sing, couldn’t much dance . . . but somehow was beloved by his audience, by sheer stroke of stage presence and genius. American Snouts too bedazzle, though they can’t be said to be the “Most” of just about anything.
When you first see an American Snout butterfly you stare at that shnoz! After a moment that thought is forgotten and that’s it, you’ve seen your first American Snout.
This one is busy nectaring in its home habitat, the White Tank Mountains just west of Phoenix. They are found throughout much of the US, though.
A quick flyer, Libytheana bachmanii flee when you approach, but go only a short distance. That’s a boon to observing and photographing them.
Look closely and you’ll see the rich colors of their wings.