Busting Your Head to Identify a HolyLand Blue Butterfly

Blue Butterfly ( Ventral View ) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Not easy to do. I was meticulously scouring the meadows surrounding this small moshav on the slopes of Israel’s Mt. Hermon. Snow on Hermon’s peak, as well as sporadic overflow of conflict at the north base of Hermon (Syrian army, Hezbollah, Iranian fighters, Russian ‘advisors, Syrian ‘rebels,’ US advisors, North Koreans and who knows who else) foreclosed my working the top of this grand mountain.

What was flying in those meadows surrounding Neve Aviv? Mostly blues, coppers, the occasional fritillary and the rare parnassian. April 2017, and Jeff was anxious to find one of those rare blue butterflies that are found on this majestic mountain, at the northereastern border of the HolyLand.

Now the hard part. It’s working with this good enough image to identify which blue we have before us. Just as we are all different, so too are butterflies within the same species different from each other.

Our identification here must be based upon the markings on this individual. The orange spots, the black spots, the marking that we see just inside of the ventral wing margins, the rich blue of the regions close to the body.

Until one of the several Israeli butterfly authorities weigh in, I am, with the single resource before me, A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel by Dubi Benyamini, citing this one as Pseudophilotes vicrama astabene. Done.

Jeff

And Who are You?

Rare Grasshopper, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Yehudiya National  Park, Golan Heights, Israel

Working the trails at the Yehudiya National Park in the Golan. This northeastern part of Israel is lightly settled, and features lush green valleys, bordered by low mountains, all pointing north to majestic Mt. Hermon. The drive from here to Mt. Hermon is about an hour and a half. On the bottom of Mt. Hermon’s northern face, right there . . . Syrian regulars, ISIS, “Rebels,” US ‘advisors’ and aircraft, Russian ‘advisors’ and aircraft, Hezbollah from you-don’t-want-to-go-there Lebanon, Turkish forces, Kurdish militia and Iranian regular and irregulars . . . are all in a deadly minuet of kill, kill.

Here there’s peace, tranquility and G-d’s creatures. Butterflies were OK that morning, but I cannot say they were abundant. The wolves that roam this park and this region, well, I did not see them these 5 days here, even though I roamed freely, and was “alone again” me, myself and I.

Smack dab in the Middle East, knowing that so many of you, yes you, yearn to visit there??? And, who did I ‘bump’ into? This nicely camoflouged . . . grasshopper? It allowed a lengthy, close approach, just moving around that boulder a bit (boulders strewn everywhere, as if G-d was sprinkling giant salt).

I presume a grasshopper? If my Israeli friends come by, perhaps we will learn more. For the meanwhile, I have to say I was fascinated. It was about 92 degrees hot, 92F in the Middle East is way hotter than it is in Brooklyn, or Pittsburgh. 92F and our little cutie here is sunning itself on a boulder, for a good many minutes. Wow!

April 2017! Sound enticing, anyone?

Jeff