Apharitis Acamases are Unlike Any Other Butterflies in the United States or Canada

A Pair of Apharitis Acamas Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron,, Israel

You’re not prepared for them, if you’ve never seen them. Apharitis Acamas is unlike any butterfly you’ll see in the United States or Canada. I remember the first time I came upon them, on that trail in the SPNI refuge reserve. You immediately focus on likening them to any butterfly you’ve ever seen, and you come up, a blank!

This pair were doing the pheromone thing, I think. Both were fine example, and both were fresh. The individual to the left was beautiful, a male I think. His metallic marking shone in the sunlight, those tails ID them as hairstreaks (?), their eyes are otherworldly looking, and the markings of his abdomen bring a smile, so reminding of a clown suit.

Very north central Israel, on the slope of Mt. Meron. 7,000+ miles from Bayonne, New Jersey.


His Favorite Butterfly?

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

I went there in June, that my plan well before I flew to the HolyLand, Israel. I wanted to see this butterfly, this Very Rare, Protected butterfly. Apharitis Cilissa flies in June only, and only in the Upper Galilee. I went to Mr. Meron, stayed in a SPNI Nature field house, and when I worked the trails on SPNI’s refuge reserve, I found them!

They’re tiny, gorgeous in the Middle Eastern sunlight, and finally, after following them (my timing was perfect, for I found a fresh flight of them), I met this one, I’m thinking a female. Nectaring on a pretty bloom, she moved her wings to and fro, as some do, and here we have much to see. She exposes her richly hued upper wing, and we see so much of her detail, including her tails and the metallic spots on her wings, they excitingly reflecting the strong Middle Eastern sun.

Little doubt have I that Jesus and the Prophets made similar treks, from their nearby homes, to see A. Cilissa and to be motivated and moved by the magnificence of G-d’s creations.


An American Cousin?

Apharitis Acama photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

These tiny butterflies looked so different from any I’ve seen in the United States, different also from butterflies I met in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, many of the latter having flown a few miles from their usual haunts in Mexico. I met these Apharitis Acamas butterflies in the Upper Galilee region of the HolyLand/Israel, on Mt. Meron.

She has those silvery metallic strips on her wings, they are glimmering when the sunlight reflects off of them. The closest US butterflies to these, with similar metallic markings are the Metalmark butterflies. That seems to be where the similarities end.

What American butterflies, if any are related to these Apharitis?


The Virtue of Right Time, Right Place

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

It’s a rare, protected little butterfly, that flies in June, a very short flight time. It only flies in a limited range in Israel’s Upper Galilee Region. Ian Lawson just shared an Apharitis image from eastern Turkey, and I immediately thought it was time to share my fav Apharitis with you.

I so much wanted to see Apharitis cilissa. That it was a Protected species of butterfly called out to me. More than that the challenge beckoned. Short flight time, very limited range, and I’d have to find it without anyone’s help, for there was no one to guide me, or even pinpoint where to search?

On Mt. Meron, I was startled by the realization that I DID find them! They were tiny as expected. Those silvery spots shone so exquisitely when reflecting the powerful Middle Eastern sunlight. I found that they liked to nectar, and they also would perch, prominently and did tolerate very brief approach.

I stayed with their small colony for some time, noticing that they would actively move their hindwings, as hairstreaks often do. Oh, how I wanted to capture a good image, with the shiny spots glistening and some upper wing revealed.

You know I shoot film, and once exposed, I have to wait some week or two or more, for my slides to be FeExed back from Kansas. I waited. They were delivered and out came the lightbox.

This survived the culling. My best of Apharitis cilissa, an endangered butterfly of the HolyLand, on a comely mountain bloom.


On Pins and Needles . . .

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

My timing? Perfect for finding a flight of Apaharitis Cillisa, on Mt. Meron in the upper Galilee, the HolyLand, Israel.

After seeing quite a few fly, I wanted to catch a good shot of those teeny, tiny wings as they gently undulated back and forth. Why? Because when those hindwings moved back and forth, the exquisite coppery-red color of the upperwing peeked out, and it was a treat to see it. Here you see my best result, a pleasing share of both dorsal and ventral wing. I wanted to capture this sweet look, and I think I did.

Just 2 days ago, Dwayne’s Photo (Parsons, Kansas, USA) emailed me. My 27 rolls of Fuji Velvia slide film has been processed, and my slides will arrive tomorrow, NLT noontime.

Pins and Needles. That’s how family used to describe how it felt to wait for something that they really, really wanted badly.

I got my Swift Guide of North American butterflies (Glassberg) in the mail yesterday. John and Nancy strongly recommended it. Last night I poured through it. Pins and Needles!!

Will my slides be keepers? Will those fantastic exposures of mating, hard to find Mexican fritillaries be worthy of sharing. Will those of the largest, most gorgeous Monarch butterflies I’ve ever seen, shot before and during their coupling, meet my own standards?

Imagine my ‘bated breath’ as I recall shooting Erato heliconian, Red-rimmed, Malachite, Gold-bordered hairstreaks, Menstras, Fatal metalmarks, Tropical leafwing, Texas crescents, Julia heliconians and many, many more rare and new to me butterflies. Pins and needles. Needles and pins.