Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A blast from the past

with 20 comments

Male Horace's Duskywing Butterfly on Mexican Buckeye 5527

Click for better clarity, if not larger size.

Here, from way back on March 25th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is what appears to my uninitiated eyes to be a faded male Horace’s duskywing butterfly, Erynnis horatius; the colors beyond it are definitely from the flowers of a Mexican buckeye tree, Ungnadia speciosa. Why show this picture now, five months later? Why not?


UPDATE: Based on two comments, it seems this may well be a funereal duskywing, Erynnis funeralis, rather than a Horace’s duskywing. So much for my uninitiated eyes.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2014 at 5:14 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Why not, indeed? We can still appreciate it, in all its faded glory.


    August 25, 2014 at 5:37 AM

    • If only we could all fade out to such a colorful accompaniment….

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 25, 2014 at 6:42 AM

      • Indeed! I don’t do any of the photographic challenges that many bloggers do but the latest challenge, “FRAY”, came to mind when I saw the edges on the wings.


        August 25, 2014 at 6:49 AM

        • I haven’t done any of those challenges either, but maybe this photograph can count in absentia.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 25, 2014 at 7:01 AM

  2. I have a feeling this little guy may have expired by now, but as far as I know, there aren’t any expiration dates on photos. What caught my attention when I clicked-to-enlarge is how perfect he is. He may be faded, and a little more dusky than usual, but he’s not tattered and torn. In butterfly terms, it looks like he’s lived a pretty good life.


    August 25, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    • Yes, I suspect this fellow has winged his way to dusky death by now, but as you say, the photograph lives on. I can’t say the same for my memory of it, because while I remember very well photographing the recently shown buckeye butterfly, I have no recollection of taking this picture of the duskywing. I wonder what else I’ve done that I don’t remember. Some good things, I have to hope.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 25, 2014 at 8:19 AM

  3. Yeah, this little guy or gal has done pretty well….just a few lightly damaged scales on the wing edges which can just be from flapping into a blade of grass or even a flower petal.
    Hey, it’s your blog…show ’em when you want. Even show them a second time. It’s all good.

    Steve Gingold

    August 25, 2014 at 8:22 AM

  4. With the white on the hindwings, I suspect this is a funereal dusky wing. None of the other dusky wings have that white on hindwing


    August 25, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    • Right, that is what I thought of right away, also, although I only ever saw one and it was nearly black. I don’t think this one is faded; I think it is showing its individuality. What an absolutely gorgeous shot~ thank you so much for posting it!


      August 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      • The funereals I’ve seen have been quite dark, but now it seems this is one that’s asserting its individuality. I’ll always be a better photographer than a biologist.

        Steve Schwartzman

        August 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    • Thanks for your observation. I struggled with this one, and I thought the picture in the upper left on p. 220 in Butterflies of Houston was a reasonably good match, but what you say about the white fringe seems to override that. If this is a funereal duskywing, then it’s even more faded than I realized.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

  5. Love the white accent on the end of the wings! Lovely shot!


    August 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

  6. Faded? Just look at all those earth-tone nuances of hue and texture. Look at the fabulous, feathery fringes. It’s yet another tribute to graceful entropy.


    August 25, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    • In my limited experience, funereal duskywings are much darker, so if that’s what this is, it’s faded by comparison to a fresh one. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the phrase “graceful entropy,” but it’s a good way to account for all those earth tones.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

  7. Whatever, it is a beautiful image, Steve!


    August 29, 2014 at 3:55 PM

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