Checkerspot ID?

Theona Checkeerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

You’re always to share the where of it? This Checkerspot butterfly was seen in the Perennial beds of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas during Christmas week. At the time, I think my friends shared that this was a Theona Checkerspot butterfly.

Now I’m carefully studying this image, wanting to be sure that these nearly fully displayed wings are the right dorsal forewing and the right dorsal hindwing. Working from there, I am struggling with images I compare it with, in Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America. 

Is this a Theona Checkerspot? I can’t be sure. I know that like humans, butterflies can vary some.

Help in ID’ing would be welcomed?

Jeff

We Gave Up Waiting . . . So We Ask Once Again – Erato Hypothesizing

Erato Heliconian Butterfly on Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We recently posted this image, of a very rare butterfly seen in the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas. Seeing this Erato Heliconian butterfly was a Rush! for me, its stark beauty adding to the excitement. It hung around this gully-like area for more than 30 minutes, resting. It did change when it rested, but it did not leave the area you see here.

Several folks saw it, then then left to investigate other places in the NBC. Me? I returned to again enjoy this special treat. Soon after I returned to watch it, the Erato began to fly, and alone, with no one else there, I watched it fly away. How did it fly? It flew in a straight line, some 4-5 feet above the gully path. You could not miss it. All the time it flew those what? 180 feet, those bright red patches shone. There was never a moment when the red could not be seen.

That interested me alot. When cop cars speed to an accident or to a call, their flashing lights shine all the time, can be seen all the time. Same for fire engines, as well as for airplanes taxiing on a runaway. When my wife, late in the 9th month told me that suddenly her contraction were 1-2 minutes apart, that our 4th was coming, coming, I remember speeding through red lights, with our flashing emergency lights going, non-stop.

In that recent post, I urged all to consider this query, and share what they thought. Why did the Erato Heliconian butterfly flash its siren reds 100% of the time it flew?

Pyle, Pavulaan, Kaufman, Lehman, Zirlin, Cech, Tudor, Rickard, Linch, Delestrez, Glassberg, Childs . . . My shout out earned no hypothesis from any, be they expert or enthusiast.

So, again I ask, why do you think those big, bright red patches on the dorsal (upper) wing surface show 100% of the time that the Erato flies?

Jeff . . . Waits

Gorgeous Hind Wing?

Dusky-blue Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We’ve held off posting with this image, for I’ve tried so hard, for so many years, to capture butterfly images with the butterfly’s eyes clearly seen. I’ve theorized that y’all only see lion, wolf, horse, dog, cat, fisher, owl and osprey images with eyes sharp and prominent. I’ve occasionally urged folks new to capturing butterfly images to try to get those eyes, those amazing butterfly eyes.

Comes once and a while an image like this one, and what to do? The right hindwing of this Dusky-blue Groundstreak butterfly? Beyond beautiful, I believe. What should we do, share it or not?

I share it with you, for even in the challenging light of a cloudy National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas morning, I LOVE the work G-d’s done here, with those reds, blues, blacks, tans, brown, white and oranges?

Share or not share? What think you?

Jeff

26 Months of Waiting For the USA’s Butterfly Cogniscenti Is Enough, No?

Erato heliconian butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

On March 22, 2018 we posted this image, the post’s title was Erato Heliconian at the National Butterfly Center in Mission Texas. There we described, with much gusto! my excitement when I met this rare butterfly.

I told of how I watched the Erato fly away, fly in a straight line, as a projectile might, not rising or descending, for what I gauge was no less than 150 feet or more beyond where I stood. I saw something that triggered my knowledge of butterfly flight.

That Erato’s bright red flashes were visible 100% of the time I observed it fly. It was as if the Erato had ultra bright red lights on its wings. My conclusion was that that non-stop display of bright, rich red must be an adaptation that broadcast to predators: Stay away, for I am highly toxic. To this day I am told that I walk with a certain how do you call it, going way back to my growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, that a message that it’s best to leave this kid alone, and enjoy your . . . teeth for another day. It worked for me, and I suspected it works for this Erato Heliconian butterfly.

I posed this question to all, and 26 months later, I can admit that I’m beyond disappointed at the leaders of NABA, the Xerces, The Audubon folks. Hey, the USA has what, 3 blogs or so that chronicle our butterflies, wingedbeauty.com is probably the longest published, some 10 years now I think.

We all want to conserve our Butterflies, expand habitat, protect vital habitat, and increase the home planting of hostplants by a gazillion percent. Why don’t those who profess to be at the forefront of this good work have the . . . (I need a good word) . . . to support any and all who seek to also do so.

Yes, I no longer am a member of Xerces and now am no longer making good-sized contributions to the North American Butterfly Association. Such clubbiness is often counter-productive.

Jeff

NB, I continue to await your opinions . . .

So You’ve Seen A Red Rim Butterfly. Now What?

Red-rim butterfly on fallen branch photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Graduation from PS 244 in Brooklyn. Graduation from JHS 285, and after from Samuel J Tilden HS. Graduation from Hunter College in New York City. Graduation from OCS. Earned a Masters Degree from Pace University. Married. Four healthy children, all graduated from schools we had confidence in. Sat through graduations in some of America’s finest universities and graduate schools.

Me? I taught Advanced Placement Biology and I introduced sylvan habitat to some of the toughest kids in New York City and later in Pittsburgh. I built successful (very) real estate business, only to have it wrested away from me by despicables. With my wife’s (A”H) help, I did not . . .

I’ve done this and more. Hundreds of trips near and far to meet new butterflies, and it’s become ever more interesting, for look, I’ve seen and shot the Red Rim butterfly, in Mission, Texas, at the border with Mexico. That same trip I met and shot the Erato Heliconian butterfly, the Common Mestra, the Mexican Bluewing, the Tropical Leafwing . . . and so many more.

Now what?

Jeff