Sighting a Rare Clytie Ministreak Butterfly!

Clyitie ministreak butterfly (3) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Want to see a Clytie Ministreak butterfly? If you lived where I live, Macon, Georgia, you’d have to travel those same 1,300 miles or so, to southern Texas, and then hope (pray?) that this “U-C” (Glassberg – Uncommon to Common) butterfly was about when you arrived in Mission, Texas.

I was fortunate to have travelled with Nancy and John from Atlanta’s International Airport to San Antonio, and then was driven those 4 hours to Alamo, Texas. That week, December’s Christmas week, we saw many dozens of species that I’d never seen before. Some rare species made their appearance just to please me, and for that I’m Thankful.

I’ve seen Kirk Douglas, President Eisenhower’s back of his head, Diana Ross, Mike Tyson and some more, to which List I add, Clytie Ministreak butterfly, at the National Butterfly Center’s Perennial Gardens, Mission, Texas.

Jeff

Coupled Monarchs in the Perennial Gardens of the National Butterfly Center

Monarch Butterflies Coupled photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

These monarchs, coupled together in the perennial gardens of the National Butterfly Center (NBC), were the largest Monarch butterflies that I have ever seen. They are much larger than the thousands I’ve seen.

The female can be seen, she under the male. I’d seen her nectaring on these very same milkweed blooms, slowly and patiently. He flew to her, and they remained as you see them here, for a handful of minutes. They flew away, the male carrying her along with him.

An unforgettable moment at the Mission, Texas NBC, less than a handful of miles from the Mexico border wall.

Jeff

A Malachite Butterfly in Texas

Malachite butterfly (4) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Friends post their awestruck visits to butterfly enclosures, and I love seeing those winged beauties flying around, in spectacular butterfly exhibits in Pittsburgh, Scottsdale, Florida and more. I thankfully remember surrounding myself in new, extraordinary butterflies, wild and free butterflies, in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Less than 3 miles from Mexico, near the border wall.

This Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) remained along that lightly treed trail for more than 1/2 an hour. Glassberg, in his Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America describes Malachites as “U” (Uncommon) in South Texas all year. Imagine how excited I was to be able to approach this gem, at times some 6 feet away?

Memories that you never forget? Oh My Goodness! This was such. I’ve been to pre-sale Exhibitions of Magnificent Jewelry at Christiie’s and at Sotheby’s auction houses in New York City. The Malachite? No contest, it real, alive and one example of G-d’s finest work.

Jeff

The Mellow Beauty of this Tiny Hairstreak Butterfly

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Come and enjoy with me. I gaze at this Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly, it nectaring on a wildflower in the National Butterfly Center’s Perennial Garden(s). Glassberg’s Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that  in South Texas this is a “C” for commonly found butterfly. True that for south Texas, but from where I’m sitting, now, south Texas is some what, 1,300 miles away?

What a sweet treat to stop and take in the mellow beauty of this tiny hairstreak butterfly. I see what I adore? Do you like the same as I love? I cannot know.

The last year has unsettled me some, and the beauty of this little gem becalms me, settles me. I know that I need more, much more of this, and I so look forward to this 2021, to deliver on that need. You too?

Mission, Texas, just a handful of miles from the Mexican-Texas border.

Jeff

Erato Heliconian Butterfly at the National Butterfly Center near Mission Texas

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

This one sure has difficulty trying to hide in the near dark National Butterfly Center grass. Those bold, bright red stripes blare out at you. Makes you wonder why this rare butterfly, that occasionally visits there, wonder why it has those red stripes.

When it did finally fly, it flew down the trail, some nearly 150 feet, always in sight and it followed a straight-line path, some 4 feet above the ground. I watched, transfixed, for I saw something that intrigued me. During that straight-line flight, those red stripes were always visible, they actually were always easily seen.

My hypothesis? This butterfly must be toxic to predators that would prey on it. Those red stripes may signal habitat predators that this butterfly is toxic (poisonous), and should not be captured.

Do you concur with this opinion?

Jeff