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Blue butterfly: small but cooperative

 
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Blue butterfly: small but cooperative Reply with quote

Well, the butterflies aren't really active yet out here in the Pacific Northwest. But since it seems to be butterfly week, I'll contribute this shot from the archives. This is a typical small male blue (Euphilotes sp.), sucking up salts from soil near a campfire circle.


Sigma 105mm, cropped from roughly 1:2 image.
Handheld, natural light, f/16, 1/160 sec, ISO 400.

In all fairness, I have to admit that this particular little fellow was rather more approachable than most.

To illustrate this point, and for the sake of scale, I offer...

...the finger?



Hope this brings a small smile to your faces. Very Happy

--Rik


Last edited by rjlittlefield on Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ken Ramos
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 4809
Location: Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a great photograph Rik. Very Happy Thanks for showing us the butterfly and giving us the "finger," as a size comparison of course. Hope those prints don't connect you to anything. Laughing
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S. Alden
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Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 2780
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice BF. These guys can be cooperative if the weather is a bit cool. They just cannot seem to get going until it warms up a bit.

Nice finger prints Laughing
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Beetleman



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 362
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful shots RiK, super small subject. In the first pic, you can see that he (or she) was interested in sucking something from the ground, its Proboscis is out, maybe moisture or something formenting or sweet.
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twebster
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Joined: 19 Apr 2004
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Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ya' Beetleman, Very Happy

Butterflies "puddle" around moist spots to ingest minerals that are dissolved in the water. I have seen Two-Tailed Swallowtail butterflies in Arizona "puddle" on fresh cow urine to ingest minerals. Exclamation Very Happy I have also witnessed these same swallowtail butterflies "puddling" in moist sand near streams. If you approach slowly and watch carefully you can actually watch water drip from the butterfly's anus. The minerals are the butterfly's equivalent of electrolytes in blood. Very Happy

Rik...Great shot Exclamation Very Happy Love the details in the butterfly and the finger adds a great scale point. Just be careful which finger you're using Exclamation Shocked Very Happy

Best regards, Very Happy
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

twebster wrote:
Butterflies "puddle" around moist spots to ingest minerals that are dissolved in the water. ... If you approach slowly and watch carefully you can actually watch water drip from the butterfly's anus. The minerals are the butterfly's equivalent of electrolytes in blood.

Adding a couple of details that I find interesting about this behavior...

1. The puddlers are overwhelmingly male -- like >99%. As far as I know, the reasons for this are still unclear. It is known that butterflies often transfer nutrient packets from male to female during mating, and that these nutrient transfers let the females live longer. [ref] Presumably puddling lets the males make bigger and better packets, resulting in mates that lay more eggs, and so on. But why do the females uniformly "prefer" to get their salts in other ways, while the males cluster around the puddles? [Insert bar joke here... Very Happy ]

2. It's not restricted to puddles! I have seen little blues probing with their proboscis on surfaces that I would swear had to be completely dry. I suspect that in these cases the butterfly is regurgitating a bit of fluid, letting it dissolve salts from the surface, then sucking it back up. Like licking a potato chip, maybe.

--Rik
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nzmacro
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Joined: 20 Apr 2004
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Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gotta love the scale in this and the ratio. Nice work Rik Very Happy

All the best up there and well done.

Danny.
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the compliments, folks!

I really like butterflies, but I completey agree with Tom that some kinds are hugely frustrating to photograph.

To be completely honest, that would be "try photographing".

There are quite a few that I've never caught holding still long enough to focus on --- if they even bother to land at all!

This little fellow was quite a pleasant change. Very Happy

--Rik
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