Haven’t used this image, for I continued to think that it was way too dark to see this southwestern USA butterfly, the Fatal Metalmark. It was in a shaded area, while the morning sun at the National Butterfly Center near the border wall was blocked by clouds. Add to that my built-in Canon light meter was acting up, and you have an image that I’m less than pleased with. Ouch.
This morning I had a fresh look at this photo, and realized . . . that this scintillant butterfly (with those metallic strips that readily reflect light) was, despite all, reflecting the available daylight. It’s difficult for the Fatal to play Peek-A-Bo, for with those metallic lines continuing to shine, there’s no place to run, no place to hide.
I love Metalmarks. This one is “C” for common, according to the expert Glassberg, but to enjoy it, you have to travel to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or Southern California.
She is sipping nectar methodically in the morning sun at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Rock Hall, Maryland. August is a bountiful month for butterflies. Wildflowers have ended their effort to produce flowers, but that’s half the story. Other genera of wildflowers have taken over, producing rich loads of sugary/protein-rich mixtures. Papilio glaucus (Dark form) has chosen to fly in from the surrounding Refuge acreage to do her shopping, so to speak in Dave’s full perennial beds.
Those wings. Do they evoke a cape? The form of a Wright brothers early airborne prototype? Are they nearly outsized for her body? If they are outsized, how do they get this butterfly airborne? Have they in fact mimiced the coloration of the toxic-tasting wings of the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor)? If they earn predator avoidance, how do/did those birds, reptiles and insects learn this behavior? Are there not dozens of bird species in this same Refuge that would enjoy eating this defenseless butterfly?
Winter here in the U.S. will end soon. Where are these butterflies at this time? Did you know the answer to this puzzler? They overwinter as pupae, hidden in tree hollows, wood piles, and perhaps between the timbers beneath your deck. Lucky you.
If by now you are thinking that wingedbeauty.com has posted another image of this butterfly recently, you’re correct. Just as a jewelry catalog presents different views of gems, we present different views of winged beauties.
Years have passed since I happened onto Wood Nymph butterflies with sky blue eyespots. Those were at Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania. They were speedsters and hid as soon as approached = no images!
I’ve sought images of Wood Nymph butterflies that are fresh and show sky-blue eyespots.
Not so easy to secure. They prefer trails at forest edges, especially with high grass fields adjacent. The fresh ones are gone in an instant, the worn ones, well they’re no longer striking brown, yellow yellow or baby-blue.
So here we have all of the above.
We haven’t posted an image of this butterfly with its wings fully opened because. they rarely bask in the morning sun and open their wings for nanoseconds at a time. I’ve been on the look-out for Wood Nymphs resting with wings open. Ten years later, I’m still looking.