The Presidential Giant

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

I think I once saw the back of the head of an American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. I remember that everyone around me was looking to catch a glimpse of President Eisenhower. That’s thousands of people all trying to see him, and hoping to come away with that memory: To remember that they saw a President of the United States.

There is a butterfly that commands that same universal attention, this one, the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). What have I seen? My head turns, and all heads turn when this magnificent butterfly gracefully flies in, and all eyes are fixed while those 2 or 3 minutes, that it flies around, looking for nectar, go by.

From the field guides, It appears that Giants may be seen in about 39 states in these United States. That is Presidential, no?

Where this one? The Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia.

Jeff

Dragnet For A Duskywing

Duskywing butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 5/06/08

Here’s one of my images that has long been prodding me, urging me to use it for a wingedbeauty.com post. Why have I kept it locked away from your sight? Try as I will with field guides, I cannot be sure which Duskywing butterfly it is?

A beauty it is, seen in Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania, about one hour west of Pittsburgh, and about 20 minutes or less east of the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line.

I dislike admitting, but Duskywings and many Skippers, well, they challenge, alot. Curt, Harry, Ken, Dave, or Jeff or Mr. Pyle, they’d all know.

Jeff

Mt. Meron Mystery Butterfly

Hipparchia pisidice butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

This one has long baffled me. I met it on Mr. Meron in June. It flew onto that fav trail of mine, and landed. I’d never seen it before, and with its wings tightly closed, I couldn’t see its upper (dorsal) surface. After much study of my Israeli butterfly field guides, and examination of butterfly images online, I think, maybe, that I can identify this challenger.

My present thinking is that this is a Hyponephele Iycaon libanotica, first named by Staudinger in 1901.

Why wasn’t I closer you might ask? I was shooting as usual with my Canon Macro- lens, and after capturing this image, I Ohhh so cautiously moved closer, only to have it . . .

Jeff

That Bothersome Name: Painted Lady

Painted Lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

I must have seen them all most young life, in not yet all-built Brooklyn, New York, then in Queens, New York and later in Long Island New York. Unlike some, I didn’t own field guides, nor did I work to learn butterfly names, but, I’m sure in saw Painted Lady butterflies those first 2+ decades.

I was in my 50’s when I earnestly went out and sought butterflies. It grabbed me, with the intensity you feel when you begin reading a book that you immediately love, and almost cannot put down. Butterflies provided so much fascination for me, there were so many of them and there’d be no “I did it!.” That could never happen because I knew I’d never have the time or money or inclination to climb rocky peaks to see all of the butterflies of the USA.

Painted Ladies were among my early favorites. They were numerous around the state parks near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and they would always come out to sunny spots on trails to ‘greet’ me. They were my sometimes trail buddies.

Like many brushfoot butterflies, you couldn’t distinguish males from females? Not in the field you couldn’t. That brought up the bothersome thought of the name chosen for these brave butterflies: Painted Lady. How I grew up was you had to be able to “handle yourself” on the streets (give it and take it), cry? never. Someone bothers your brother or sisters, you take care of that. Someone “calls you out” in school, you meet them after school, never within sight of the school building or the schoolyard, and you do what you do. No ‘millennial’ Jeff, you had to be tough, or kind of stay in your house . . .

I’ve thought often of who it was that named the male Painted Ladies such? These Leps are tough little wild animals, and I’ve always thought they never deserved the name that they got. You must forgive me if you have another opinion here. Mine is etched in my brain, vital it was for survival. Mine was not the Father Knows Best childhood.

You  can stop wondering about this handsome Painted Lady. Jeffrey Glassberg cites them as the “planet’s most cosmopolitan butterfly.” Found on every continent, they are all nearly identical. This one was met in Ramat Hanadiv, near the Mediterranean Sea in the HolyLand, Israel.

Jeff