Funny, That.

Question Mark butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

I was just musing over why we get so excited when we see a fresh Monarch butterfly, Giant Swallowtail butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly or Metalmark butterfly. Yes, “we” for when I make my approach to a likely beauty, it sure is a rush when my eyes confirm that the object of my interest is OMG! gorgeous.

This image of a Question Mark butterfly triggered that thought. My scientific mind tells me that not more than 15% of us pay attention to such a butterfly as this, when we pass it, as it peacefully suns itself on a broad leaf at Raccoon Creek State Park, 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (8 hours west of New York City, for our international friends).

Those colors that melt together so seamlessly, that suggestion of strong arrested power, the black spots seemingly painted by Monet, the fascinating wing margins and how they come together . . . and that talk that lovers of fine art share when they face a masterpiece, all that sings here, but to few, very few eyes and ears. No?


The Malachite Butterfly

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

More than 20 years of field work, seeking butterflies. All that time, here and there, I’d see shared images of Malachites. Big, big butterflies sometimes seen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and in southern Florida. No problem trying to figure out what they are when you spot them, for there’s nothing else like them. You think you see a Malachite, then it’s a Malachite. The size, rich minty green encapsulated amongst dark border, leaves no room for doubt. Problem was, I’d never seen one. Texas delivered my first ever Malachite.

Our previous wingedbeauty post was an Erato Heliconian butterfly. Uncommon in the LGRV, but onstage for my last week in December 2017 visit to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall. I was just miles from Mexico.

This Malachite here was seen relaxing on a broad leaf, in dappled shade. It was very close to where I’d seen the Erato. A fine, cooperative subject, it held this pose for some time, enabling some 4 or 5 folks the opportunity for good shots.

Many minutes after holding this wings fully open pose, it closed it’s wings, providing us with many minutes to study and photograph its ventral wings. It was magnificent. Some of the others had seen Malachites before, and I heard it said that this was the finest one they had seen. Good, very Good.

Me? I was thinking again of the craft of the D-signer, and I was reminded of those moments in my life when I was close to celebrity. They poised; coiffured and confident. That’s our Malachite here.

Awe, elegance, those kinds of words shoot into your thinking.