Orange Sulphur Butterfly

Cabbage white butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

July 21, 2011. Like a kid in a candy shop, our Colias philodice joyfully sips nectar just minutes after the ‘chow’s on!’ signal rang. I arrived here at the Phipps Conservatory’s Outdoor Gardens at 8:20 A.M. to photograph. There weren’t any butterflies at the nectar-pumping blooms, yet. Hundreds of thousands of nectar bearing flowers were waiting for their butterfly pollinators to arrive. Then some 45 minted later, there they came, butterflies of several species, single-mindedly going for nectar! After 15 minutes of heavy action: Poof! gone, no butterflies. A 15 minutes pause and once again in flew the squadrons of butterflies. Has this been examined?

Orange sulphurs in the U.S. northeast can be seen flying during as many as 10 months of the year, March to November. One brood produces the next, and so on. This butterfly (male? female?) surely enjoyed its flight. After 2 or 3 weeks if they still are active, they are faded and their wings show much physical stress with a heavy loss of scale.

How does the species get through the rough winters of northeastern states? They overwinter in pupae form.

Much to consider about a butterfly that is here and then gone in seconds.


Empress Leilia Butterfly

Empress Leila Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

September in southcentral Arizona, west of Phoenix. White Tank Mountains Regional Park was in full splendor that morning, and HOT!

I’ve been to this Park over the years, slipping out mornings from Sun City West to take in the wonders of habitat so different from that of eastern USA. Only the arroyos offered wildlife, bone dry as they were.

Asterocampa leilia as expected remained vigilant on rocks in the arroyo. These silent sentries, this then presumably a male (not easy to determine, usually by wing girth) kindly allowed my approach. Arrive to close and poof! he’s moved to a new rock perch, a boulder some 30 feet away. So this image was not immediately captured. We played the move from rock to rock minuet until he mercifully permitted me to approach and shoot-shoot-shoot.

Empress Leilia and other xeric butterflies simply amaze me. There is no water evident for miles, they perch in full, overwhelming sun and no, there wasn’t an abundance of nectar bearing flowers around. In fact there were only these little tiny flowers along the arroyo, and few of them at that.

As the most dedicated wingedbeauty followers know, I am a big fan of butterflies with blue-centered eyespots. And there they are!