Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 6th, 2014

Skipper on verbena flowers: a follow-up

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FLASH: This just in (as news announcers like to say). After the first comment about this morning’s post showing a skipper in the genus Nastra, I wondered (to myself) how I’d missed the fact that this butterfly had only one antenna. That prompted me to go back to the set of pictures I’d taken of the skipper, and it was clear from some of the other images that the butterfly had its normal complement of two antennae. That in turn led me to zoom in on the full version of the image I’d shown you, a detail of which I’ve added below.

It just so happens that the butterfly’s right antenna (the one we see on our left) was oriented in such a way that most of it pointed straight at the camera and therefore couldn’t be seen. If you look at this enlargement, you’ll see the part of the “missing” antenna closest to the butterfly’s head, and you’ll also see the knob at the tip, though it was far enough forward that it appears as an elongated brown blur. When looking at the picture as a whole, I’d taken that hazy patch to be a marking on the eye itself, and it was one of the things that reminded me of the fallen mustang grapes I photographed a short distance away on the same visit.

By the way, the link to the fallen grapes in the previous post wasn’t initially working but Wanda Hill alerted me (thanks) and I fixed the problem, so if you were frustrated by the non-working link, try it again now.

Nastra Skipper Butterfly on Verbena xutha Flowers 9768 Detail

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Skipper on verbena flowers

with 42 comments

Skipper Butterfly on Verbena xutha Flowers 9768

Click for better clarity.

When I visited Northeast Metro Park in Pflugerville on July 28th I stopped to photograph some flowers of what I believe is gulf vervain, Verbena xutha, a species making its debut here. Before long I noticed that a skipper had landed on some of the flowers and I turned my attention to it. Based on my research I can say it appears to be in the genus Nastra, but I’m having trouble distinguishing between N. neamathla, the neamathla skipper, and N. lherminier, the swarthy skipper. Whichever it is, in this portrait I focused on the skipper’s head, legs, and proboscis rather than its wings, and by doing so I managed to keep the flowers at the right mostly in focus as well.

It may be my strange imagination, but the butterfly’s eye looks to me like it could be one of the fallen mustang grapes I photographed a short distance away on the same visit.

UPDATE: See the following post for more information about this butterfly’s antennae.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2014 at 5:50 AM

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