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Captive Lepidoptera - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Captive Lepidoptera
I cheated. I went to a butterfly house in western MA for these shots. Instead of being on an exciting photo safari1, it was more like being at a zoo, only much smaller and with free roaming and not at all dangerous beasties. Except for the many crazy little people2. They were dangerous as ever, and maybe more so for the enclosed space.

I was excited to sit down and identify the lot until I discovered that they had thrown me a curve. Their collection includes species from outside of North America3, which I couldn’t accept until I accidentally found a picture of the Great Orangetip online. At any rate, enjoy...

Great Orangetip (Hebomoia glaucippe)

Erato Heliconian (Heliconius erato)

Julia Heliconian (Dryas julia)

Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonius)

Isabella's Heliconian (Eueides isabella)

Emerald Swallowtail (Papilio palinurus)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Common Rose (Pachliopta kotzebuea)

Wood Nymph (Idea leuconoe)

1It’s exciting because of the danger!
2No, not midgets... children.
3Any that are North American and still not ID'ed are just indicative of my being horribly scattered lately. Give a holler if you know.
24 comments or Leave a comment
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: August 3rd, 2004 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great colors, I love the Dryas Julia.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I remember him as a little more dusky, so I think his wings caught a little bit of flash flare.
cosmicserpent From: cosmicserpent Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish it was midgets instead. Next time you go, I'd like to come along. The pictures are great!
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
The idea of midgets chasing butterflies is pretty appealing, but how would you keep the crowds away?

Sure thing. The stop was entirely accidental. I overshot an exit and saw signs when I went to turn around. I was out in bear country I think.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, but you've got the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

They had quail running around at our feet and a koi pond, too!
starflow From: starflow Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow! Those are so lovely. I don't think I could pick a favorite--they're all beautiful.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a shame that I couldn't get a shot of our little friend on Sunday.
thedeadfisharmy From: thedeadfisharmy Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Funny you should mention this. Earlier this afternoon, my father mentioned that as my aunt was helping out with a course on photographing butterflies, they hosted this class down at their back yard in the middle of fucking nowhere, Illinois. In one afternoon, they spotted forty different local species of butterflies.

Anyway, the point is... well are... a). damn, that's a lot of butterflies and b). they're professional nature photographers, so it's not cheating it's professionalism.

Wonderful photos, by the way.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
A back yard is an entirely different setting, really. I can understand the need for a course, though. The shooting was tricky, if only because my camera uses a tiny flash for range finding, etc. It tended to spook some of the jumpier species.

thedeadfisharmy From: thedeadfisharmy Date: August 3rd, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Out of curiousity, did you follow the digital camera ethos of "take a hundred pictures, and throw ninety-nine of them away" or are you just that damned good? I swear, everytime I try to take a picture of something small, I can't keep my hands steady.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)


There was probably a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of kept:thrown away. Even choosing the best of the lot, there are flaws in the shots. The Julia Heliconian and the unidentified tailed emerald got some flash flare, the Erato is off-center, and I managed to clip antennae in four of the shots. I would have stayed longer, but I was hungry and it was very hot in the enclosure.

Since I don't have a tripod, I ended up doing a lot of creative bracing - mostly against my body or a knee, but sometimes a rail or something similar proved useful. In a few cases, I had to stretch my arms to the limit and hope for the best.
From: skygoodwill Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)


komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2004 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Impressed!

Thanks. I tried getting you a preview - it worked in my head... though I can't really explain - but I think our firewall is a little too robust.
From: ex_cayetana730 Date: August 3rd, 2004 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

They are my friends. Meaning, they have always liked to land on me.
komos From: komos Date: August 4th, 2004 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe they think you taste like delicious nectar. ;)
tarotchan From: tarotchan Date: August 3rd, 2004 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
BEAUTY! I think my favorite is the one that looks like an emerald.
komos From: komos Date: August 4th, 2004 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
He's the only one of his kind I saw, and he was looking a little ragged. Still, it's an amazing color for a living being.
komos From: komos Date: August 5th, 2004 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Found it! It's an Emerald Swallowtail.
technocowboy From: technocowboy Date: August 3rd, 2004 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Peter, those are awesome pix!

As far as IDing some go, the one below the Monarch is, I believe, a Luna Moth, and the one two under that (three from the bottom) is (I think) a Sphinx Moth.

I could be smoking the crack, though.
komos From: komos Date: August 4th, 2004 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks much!

I honestly don't know about the sphynx... he seemed way too sedate, and I can't find a pic of a sphynx that matches his markings. 'Course, there are numerous varieties.

I've got to disagree on the Luna, though. They're a much paler green and have much sharper lines.

No smoking crack! Do feel better, though.
komos From: komos Date: August 4th, 2004 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Or softer lines, rather. [*shakes head*]
From: annaskipka Date: August 5th, 2004 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful pictures! I think you've got an Idea leuconoe (lacy black and white), ??, Heliconius isabella (orange folded wing), and Pachliopta kotzebuea (black).

I'll post some pictures of the Gulf Fritillaries that have been living on our passionflower vine all summer. All but one have emerged from their chrysalis and flown away.


komos From: komos Date: August 5th, 2004 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're good. I managed to find the Isabella's earlier today, but I've had a time with the others. Wood Nymphs were everywhere in the enclosure, and I've a bunch of pictures of them because they were not at all camera shy. For a while, I had one riding on my shoulder. I'm really happy for the info.

I look forward to seeing your pics.

And, well, Hi!
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