Examples of butterfly photography


Here are some butterfly photographs that I have taken.

Question mark butterfly drinking juices from a rotten apple

One August day I noticed that an apple tree in my parent's back yard was attracting butterflies. This tree had yellow transparent apples which had been infested by some kind of fly. The apples were still on the tree, but had extensive insect damage, and many were rotting. Some of the apples had one or more butterflies on them, in addition to the other insects usually associated with rotten fruit(flies, wasps, etc.). I got a step ladder and started taking butterfly pictures. I observed, in addition to this question mark butterfly, numerous hackberry emperors, red admirals, and red spotted purples. From this one tree I really got my first taste of success with butterfly photography.

The question mark butterfly is an amazing butterfly. If you look at the left side of this butterfly you will see the two little marks that give it its common name. (If you don't see the question mark, click on the photograph) In addition, you will note that the butterfly bears an amazing resemblance to a dead leaf. Actually, there are several other Iowa butterflies which also closely resemble leaves. When they bask with their wings spread, you will see that they are brightly colored from above.

I have never seen this butterfly collecting nectar from a flower. I have seen them on rotting fruit, and frequently see them flying or basking.

We are used to seeing butterflies landing on flowers, then flying up off of them. The flight is fairly fast and kind of bumpy. If you ever have a chance to see this butterfly (or one of the similar butterflies in the brushfoot group) weaving its way through tall weeds, you will get a completely different perspective on how well they fly. The flight of this type of butterfly is slower but much more accurate and precise than you might imagine. It is kind of a slow, deliberate flight.

Spring azure on gray headed cone flowerMeadow fritillary on black eyed susanGray hairstreak on goldenrodCoral hairstreak on butterfly milkweedLittle yellow sipping from wet mudSilverspotted skipper hanging on to rough blazing starTwo great spangled fritillaries nectaring from field thistleFiery skipper on stiff goldenrodCommon sulfur drinking nectar from purple cone flower

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