Not only has the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit at CBG been better than ever this year but I have really enjoyed helping Courtney Quigley and the exhibit team by photographing the new species each week and adding my work to the database of images for the exhibit. Courtney has an unbelievable knowledge of butterflies and it is fun learning new things each time I visit. She is always eager to share her knowledge and enthusiasm about the butterflies. Yesterday I was dodging raindrops but the subdued light was wonderful for photographing some of the new friends in the exhibit. Courtney was very excited about a new species that had just emerged from their pupas - the Mocker Swallowtail, a fascinating example of how nature adapts to survive. The Mocker Swallowtails are from Sub-Saharan Africa. The male Mocker Swallowtail is monomorphic and always looks the same with the typical "tails" of the swallowtail. The females are polymorphic, which means they all look slightly different and they can mimic up to 17 other species of butterflies from Africa. She mimics butterflies that are poisonous or distasteful to predators, which helps her survive. The females rarely develop the tails typical of the males. The Mockers are very active, making them difficult to photograph and even harder to catch with wings open. This behavior is also a defense against being eaten by birds in the wild.
A male Mocker Swallowtail momentarily perched on an 'Autumn Brilliance' Serviceberry tree. Those berries are delicious, by the way - Courtney had us sample them!
The female's inner wings are all sorts of variations of white, black and orange, with no tails.
Last week when I visited the exhibit I saw for the first time what has to be my new favorite butterfly, the White Peacock. Beautiful!
Love the colors of the Gulf Fritillary.
Another new species from last week's visit, the Sergeant.
An open Sergeant
Last year I didn't pay as much attention to the butterflies emerging in the pupa emergence room, but this year I am trying to capture them as they come out.
An Orchard Swallowtail
Ready for release into the exhibit
During yesterday's visit, the White Morphos were just coming out. Can't wait to see these beauties flying about the exhibit!
Please visit my butterfly gallery to see more butterfly images. I can't begin to put them all in a blog post!