Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rejuvenating the butterfly, at least pictorially

with 12 comments

White-Striped Longtail Butterfly on Prairie Verbena Flowers 8211

Click for better sharpness.

The white-striped longtail butterfly that you saw last time was faded and had lost its long tails. For comparison, from the April 12th outing in south Austin that brought you several recent pictures of old plainsman, I can offer you this fresher Chioides catillus on a prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida. Central Texas marks the northern fringe of the territory of this butterfly, which I was surprised to learn ranges all the way south to Argentina; imagine someone down there looking at the same species as someone up here. (That got me wondering about the name of this butterfly in Spanish, so I did some searching and found a site from Argentina that referred to it as coludo chaqeuño; that means ‘a tailed [butterfly] from el Gran Chaco,’ which is a region that includes parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. In a Mexican book I found the butterfly called coluda catillus, a combination of a common name and a scientific name.)

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2013 at 6:38 AM

12 Responses

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  1. I especially like the way the light reflecting off the flowers seems to give a light lavender cast to the butterfly. At least I assume the tint is from the flower. I’ve never noticed the effect before. I wonder if it would appear more reddish on a paintbrush, or take on the yellow of one of those hundreds of yellow flowers out there?


    April 23, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    • Yes, I also noticed that lavender cast on the butterfly, and I’m pretty sure you’re right that reflected light from the verbena caused it. With all the time I spend peering through a lens at things, I’ve become aware of how often the color of a bright object, usually a flower, can affect the color of adjacent things. (Coincidentally, I photographed a paintbrush yesterday but there was no butterfly on it that could have picked up the flower’s intense red.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2013 at 7:13 AM

  2. There would seem to be a propensity in nature for the color purple (aka: blue). In flowers this is my favorite hue. Your posts over the past several days have featured some lovely examples of this tendency!


    April 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them, Lynda. There are plenty of purple/violet flowers in my area, at least a few more of which will be coming your way in the weeks ahead. One thing I’ve noticed is that flowers of those colors often have white variants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2013 at 9:29 AM

  3. […] a post on my other blog today I showed a picture of a butterfly with the scientific name Chioides catillus. People in the […]

  4. Very nice. Nicely balanced, I think.


    April 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    • Given the unevenness of many places out there in nature, sometimes I have to do a bit of precarious balancing myself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      • Sounds like a man who would benefit from a long stout pole. 😉


        April 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        • Yes, and a lighter camera bag. Mine is heavy enough that it sometimes pulls me off balance when I’m walking on uneven ground, but I usually need to have several lenses and a flash with me, and each item adds to the weight. It’s an occupational hazard that I have to accept.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM

  5. Wow. Beautiful butterfly. Love this pic.


    April 23, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    • It seems to be a good year for this species, which I’ve seen several times.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      • Thanks for the reply. I think that I might have commented that I had seen or thought that I had seen this butterfly. But I was very wrong. I have not observed this one before.


        April 24, 2013 at 11:25 PM

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