Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An intact snout but a frayed rear

with 20 comments


The flowering goldenrod I photographed on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on September 28th attracted many insects, including this American snout butterfly, Libytheana carinenta.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2016 at 4:56 AM

20 Responses

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  1. It has always amazed me how much scale loss a butterfly or moth can absorb and still fly under control. It looks like this one should just go around in circles.

    Steve Gingold

    November 7, 2016 at 6:14 AM

    • I’m with you in having seen some butterflies much more damaged than this one that still seem to have no trouble flying. Butterflies of this species can seem more damaged than they are because the rear contour bends inward even in the freshest specimen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2016 at 7:33 AM

  2. This is an excellent butterfly photo. What a treat to my eyes to get such a good look at a snout. I see them here occasionally.


    November 7, 2016 at 9:07 AM

  3. nice! it made me think of this rare creature that lives in the mindo/ecuador area…


    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    November 7, 2016 at 10:22 AM

  4. What a character! Love it!

    laura lecce

    November 7, 2016 at 3:12 PM

  5. I don’t recall ever seeing a photo of a butterfly with its antennae pointing downward. It seems to me they’re usually up-and-out, but that could be just my lack of experience with butterflies.

    It was funny to see ‘snout’ in the title — and on the butterfly. I found a bug in the middle of a forest road in Arkansas that had a snout, and it was something to see. I’ve not gotten around to bug identification yet, but it shouldn’t be too hard with such a distinctive feature.


    November 8, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    • I know I’ve seen other downward-pointing butterfly antennae, even if I can’t tell you how common or uncommon that is.

      Distinctive features help, but the number of insect species is many times the number of plant species. Talk about diversity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2016 at 12:08 AM

  6. Tattered and torn but not at all forlorn.


    November 9, 2016 at 5:10 AM

  7. Beautiful Mr Schwartzman


    November 10, 2016 at 1:53 AM

  8. I’ve seen many more-frayed rears than this one’s, and those who possess them are still amazingly agile. That serves to give many of us much more hope for our future…


    November 12, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    • Like you, I’ve seen butterflies a lot worse than this one that appeared to have no trouble flying normally. We could change Emily Dickinson’s line to “Hope is the thing with scales.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 11:03 PM

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