Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Small palafoxia flowers and different goers thereon

with 30 comments

Ceraunus Blue Butterfly on Small Palafoxia 4990

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s another view of small palafoxia, Palafoxia callosa, and once again it’s a visitor to the flowers that takes pride of place (and focus). I believe it’s a ceraunus blue butterfly, Hemiargus ceraunus. If you click to enlarge you may be able to tell that on the uppermost flower there’s a much tinier insect that’s only about as long as the butterfly’s eye and a lot narrower than that eye. And speaking of the butterfly, don’t you like the aquamarine lines radiating out to the end of its forewing?

This August 22nd photograph, like the last four, is from the right-of-way beneath the power lines to the west of Morado Circle in my Great Hills neighborhood of Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2013 at 6:17 AM

30 Responses

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  1. What a beautiful butterfly – so regal looking :).


    September 26, 2013 at 6:19 AM

  2. I think I am learning more from your blog than i’m learning in my master gardener classes…Is this a rare butterfly: I have not seen one like it before. We’re all bemoaning the decrease of the monarch butterflies.

    • That’s good, because learning is so much fun. I confess to knowing very little about butterflies. John Tveten writes that “The ceraunus blue may well be the most widespread and abundant blue in the Americas; however, it occurs irregularly as far north as the Houston area. A tropical species originally described from Jamaica, it ranges from the southern U.S. through the West Indies and Central America through South America.” And all of that assumes that I’ve identified the butterfly correctly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 6:46 AM

  3. This is another superb butterfly shot from you Steve, even down to the shadows! We only get two blues here in the UK and I rarely see either of them.


    September 26, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    • Thanks you, Jude. I just looked in John Tveten’s book about the butterflies of Houston and found close to 20 blues listed in the index. I guess they’re mainly tropical butterflies, which is why you have only two species in the UK. You’ll have to plan a trip to the southern United States.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 6:52 AM

  4. What an elegant, perfect little creature. The “fringe” around its wings is delightful. At first glance, I thought the purple/blue shadows were banding on its body. With its particular combination of blue and brown, it would fit right into Taos or Santa Fe, and I see that the Southwest is part of its range.

    It appears to have the same horn-like appendages that were present on another butterfly you showed us recently. Perhaps they’re more common than I’ve realized.


    September 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    • From regal to elegant, and you get the fringe benefit of thinking, at least initially, that the shadows were banding on the butterfly’s body (which I, having been present, knew were shadows from the palafoxia). Now that you mention it, I can see how well this butterfly would fit in with the pastels of New Mexico. And good of you to have noticed the horn-like appendage, which is easier to see in the full-size image. You may be right that those appendages are more common than you (or I) realized; I’ll pay attention when I photograph small butterflies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 7:22 AM

  5. I think this is one of your best photographs I’ve seen. The delicate quality of the flower and the butterfly compliment each other. I enlarged and noticed the tiny creature before reading your text. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it.

    Jim in IA

    September 26, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    • No, you weren’t imagining that minuscule insect: you must have good eyes. I can’t say I noticed the tiny insect at the time I took the picture, because I was so focused (in both senses) on the butterfly. It often happens that I notice a detail for the first time when I see an image magnified on my large monitor. Those surprises are fun.

      Like you, I found that the pastel colors of the butterfly and the palafoxia flowers go well together.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 8:21 AM

  6. Nicely captured.


    September 26, 2013 at 8:16 AM

  7. Oh that is a tiny bug… how did you ever spot it? The lines on the butterfly’s forewing are indeed gorgeous! Is this image for sale? I would love to add it to my collection if it is.


    September 26, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    • I spotted it only when I enlarged the photograph on my monitor. So many things escape me at the time of taking a picture like this because I’m so intent on the subject, which is moving and could fly away at any time. Sometimes I luck out and get a bonus.

      In answer to your question, I haven’t set up any mechanism to sell my pictures directly to people (as opposed to magazines), but I may look into it. Thanks for your enthusiasm, as always.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 8:31 AM

  8. This is a beautiful shot, Steve. One of the best of yours that I’ve seen.

    Alex Autin

    September 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM

  9. Splendiferous! And yes, I think those little aquamarine racing stripes are glorious. Nice of you to give credit to the micro-insect for its cameo appearance, too.


    September 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    • Ah, racing stripes, now that’s something that I hadn’t thought of, but it’s appropriate because these little butterflies do go racing around. And yes, I try to give credit where it’s due, even to a micro-insect making a cameo appearance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      • So are the racing stripes the butterfly’s equivalent of Keds, as in “Run faster, jump higher”?
        Thusly enabled will the butterfly now fly faster, and soar higher?

        Sorry, once again I couldn’t help myself. 😉


        September 26, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        • I remember U.S. Keds from when I was a kid, but the slogan back then was “The Shoe of Champions.” I guess the ad line about running and jumping came later. Seems like this butterfly is naturally endowed and doesn’t need help from Keds, but I don’t mind at all if you’ve helped yourself to a bit of fun along those lines. Let’s live it up and be merry.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 26, 2013 at 9:13 PM

          • Argh, You’re right, and I had the wrong shoe. It was actually P.F. Flyers from B.F. Goodrich that could make you run faster and jump higher. 😉 Also, I forgot to tell you last night how much I loved your little butterfly with the racing stripes. She is a real beauty!


            September 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM

            • Ah, another rubber company. The U.S. in U.S. Keds stood for the U.S. Rubber Company.

              I’m, glad you liked the little butterfly with the racing stripes; not surprisingly, it proved popular with many folks.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM

  10. Gorgeous!

    Lisa Vankula-Donovan

    September 27, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    • Everyone seems to like this little butterfly, and the colors of the flowers don’t hurt, either.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2013 at 6:11 AM

  11. very nice capture!


    September 27, 2013 at 9:22 AM

  12. Gorgeous capture – love those colors!!


    September 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

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