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Monday, July 26, 2010

John Lampkin's Butterflies

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This Pearly Marble in the high Sierras has his thingy stuck. No, not that thingy, silly. His proboscis is stuck in the flower and that’s why there is a loop in it—from spinning around trying to get free. Sort of like getting your hand stuck in a pickle jar and standing on your head to get it out. How embarrassing!

I photographed this Juniper Hairstreak in central New Jersey last year. Notice the vibrant colors—that means she just hatched. You can tell she’s female by her large abdomen which is full of eggs to be laid over her three-week life span as an adult. Hairstreaks get their name from the hair-like extensions from her backside. She continually shakes her butt so that predators are fooled into thinking that’s her antennae and will nip the wrong end. That happened to me once years ago in a dimly lit singles bar.

Some hairstreaks don’t have tails, like this Coral Hairstreak. They not only visit flowers, but suck up salts from puddles. I put saliva on my fingertip to coax this male on for the pic, holding the camera with my right hand. As you see, these gorgeous creatures are the size of your thumbnail.

These San Emigdio Blues are rare, and can be found only in a few isolated spots in Southern California. They are joined together, mating on their larval host plant, Four-winged Saltbush. This position works fine for butterflies, but please folks, don’t try this at home. Believe me, it can be painful and I myself kept falling out of bed.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. To get these photographs, John gets close to butterflies. Close. Very close. Some would say, too close.

Note: The commentary and images above were created by constructor John Lampkin, who is an avid Nature photographer. @2010 John Lampkin

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