Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Butterflies!

It was butterfly day in the garden a couple of days ago.

First, a pair of southern whites (Ascia monuste) obligingly settled in the perfect place for a photo. I don't know what it was they found so attractive, but they didn't want to leave it.

Not long after, a giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) settled -- and stayed for a long time -- on a Murraya, close to where I was working.

If you're not familiar with this butterfly, it's not only the largest of the North American swallowtails, it's the largest butterfly on the continent, with a wingspan that may exceed six inches.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Realizing it was my lucky day for butterflies, I took the camera around the garden. After a fruitless wait for one of the skittish zebra longwings (Heliconius charithonia) to settle on something, a male julia (Dryas iulia -- note it's "i," not "j.") conveniently landed on an elephant ear right in front of me. This one is old (relatively speaking), probably a couple of weeks, indicated by the many missing scales.

9 comments:

Susan said...

Gorgeous butterfly pics. You did a great job capturing them, as they are not that easy to photograph. Everytime I get close to one, off he goes and I end up chasing it all over the yard until it finally flys away. You must have some yummy treats in your garden.

Penny McCrea said...

Thanks, Susan. It really was just a lucky day. All the butterflies stayed and stayed ... But I've got quite a lot of butterfly attractants, now.

Ami said...

It does look like your lucky day! Very beautiful butterflies. I don't think I have seen the southern white before, very pretty color. I don't have much luck with the butterflies. I see different types in my garden, but only was able to capture the pictures of white peacock ones, others are just too fast for my camera :)

James Missier said...

Wow..
really beautiful creatures.
You really managed to get to snap them, very often I'm just lucky enough to see them flee away from my garden.

Penny McCrea said...

@Ami: I don't think I've seen a white peacock in the garden. But I'm hoping ...

@James: Thanks! I've put in a lot of butterfly plants -- nectar and larval hosts -- this year and it's made a big difference. Lots of different species have stayed in the garden, making it much easier to get a photo. I know that you get some of the biggest moths and butterflies on the planet in your neck of the woods, so maybe you should plant some of their favourites ...

Floridagirl said...

Oooh, so many butterflies at once! I love the great southern whites! They are so pretty and shimmery. I don't see them as often in my garden as the swallowtails. And I've NEVER seen a Julia!!! I wonder if they roam this far north. Beautiful!

Penny McCrea said...

Hey, FG. According to Wikipedia, you should be able to find them in the summer. Happy hunting!

NanaK said...

Great butterfly photos! Those southern whites posing for you was truly special. Butterfly activity is high around my garden as well, but I'm not as quick with the camera on the swallowtails. They are FAST!

Penny McCrea said...

Hey, Nana. Yes, the whites are the best photo. It was just a lucky day!