We share with you one of the most fascinating butterfly images that I have ever photographed. In real terms, this is one of the 50,000+ slides we’ve processed. It is one among the most enigmatic in the collection.
This Danaus plexippus female Monarch butterfly was resting on a wilted flowerhead in Nichol field in Raccoon Creek State Park in Southwestern Pennsylvania. There may have been a bit of damage to the margin of her hindwings, an indication of the butterfly’s lifespan, but she was otherwise intact and beautiful. It was 10:20 A.M. on a sunny morning, and I decided to attempt to photograph her. I made my patented, methodical approach. Take a look at the Technique feature for more details.
I was within excellent range for my macro lens– just 12″ away from the butterfly. She remained in place and did not flee. What happened next continues to puzzle me. Why? Because I have approached several hundred thousand butterflies over the years and I have never seen a butterfly do exactly what this one did. I recently attended an international Congress of lepidopterists and when a researcher presented his study of butterflies and their ability to respond to visual stimuli, I noted this experience during the Q and A interaction – but without much response from the panelists.
What happened? She turned her head to her right, and looked at me. She paused. She fled.
I have never seen a butterfly turn its head before or since. I didn’t know that their heads could move to the right or to the left.
When she had flown away, I stood up and truth be told, puzzled over it.
(posting again after 26 days abroad)
- Magical transformations: From monarch caterpillar to butterfly (greenbelvedere.wordpress.com)
- Monarch Butterfly, Many Birds, Facing Big Declines, Possible Extinction (planetsave.com)
- TV News (warrenesltutor.wordpress.com)