Thursday, September 06, 2007

Limenitis Arthemis


I was lucky enough to be charmed by this little guy for about an hour on Tuesday evening. It was crawling around the birdfeeder slowly opening and closing its wings when I got home from work. It was so perfect, I think it had probably recently emerged from its cocoon. There was a second one flitting around in my flower beds. After taking a few dozen photos, I went inside to fetch my field guide, because I always want to know what it is that I have observed. This is a brushfoot butterfly, limenitis arthemis, commonly known as a "red-spotted purple". This species mimics the coloration of the poisonous pipevine swallowtail butterfly as a protection against predators. I love the latin names for flora and fauna, thus the fancy-pants post title.

I am fascinated by the ordinary world of the suburban back yard. You don't need an exotic location for a photography safari. All you need is some patience and a good eye for finding the wonder in your surroundings, wherever you happen to be. There is a ton of life around you, and interesting discoveries to be made, whether you are in an exotic locale or in your own yard.

And who says mother nature doesn't have a sense of humor? This photo makes me smile:

17 comments:

magnetbabe said...

Absolutely stunning!

I clicked on the picture to see it full size and marveled at the iridescent wings. That second picture is pretty cute too.

Beth said...

You are such a gifted photographer. I am scared to death of butterflies and even I think that shot is beautiful ... and the second is cute!

fermicat said...

Thanks! It was a treat to be around it, and for it to have been moving slowly enough to permit non-blurry photos. It hung around on that feeder for a long time. Usually butterflies are difficult subjects because of their constant, somewhat erratic motion.

dr sardonicus said...

I have to agree that you come up with some amazing pictures. A tribute to your powers of observation.

wa11z said...

Beautiful pics!!

trinamick said...

I do love me some flutterbyes, but we rarely see them in our area outside of a display case.

LL said...

Nice pics!

Oh... and how did you get it to land on PDM's tongue like that?

Dave said...

Some of the above, I have no opinion on tongue in the second picture, and perfect composition and great color.

fermicat said...

Thanks everyone.

Never mind the tongue. That thing needs to brush its teeth!

younameit said...

As usual, you take gorgeous pictures. That is an amazing shade of blue.

I'm not fascinated enough with ordinary backyard life to wait for a picture like that. In fact, I'm just the opposite. I cannot stand nature in suburban settings (my back yard is an embarrassment anyway). For me, there is simply no mystery to such uniformly manicured settings (although yours seems to have a lot of trees and shrubs, which makes it feel quite a bit more "mysterious" than the average back yard).

Kathleen said...

Beautiful butterflies and pictures! I have no backyard, but I do see moths in the foyer when I leave in the morning. Too bad moths aren't as pretty as butterflies.

Jim Donahue said...

WOW!!!!

fermicat said...

younameit - my back yard is fairly natural, for a suburb. Trees, creek, moss, bugs.

kat - I have seen some moths that would take your breath away. Google (or wikipedia) giant saturnid moths. I once used a whole roll of film taking pictures of a polyphemus moth. Wow.

Jim - Thanks, but the butterfly deserves all of the credit for being both beautiful and slow. :-)

TheWriteGirl said...

Beautiful beautiful! Positively intoxicating.

BC said...

Absolutely beautiful!!! I love butterflies and especially blue ones. Do you mind if I steal those pictures? ;o)

fermicat said...

Thanks, writegirl and bc.

Kathleen said...

I should have specified suburban Detroit moths aren't so pretty. ;-)