Butterfly: Red Admiral

  UPDATE (11 May 2003): Two years after a person identified this particular butterfly as a painted lady, I was exploring the web to identify a different butterfly I had photographed the week before. It turns out that this one isn't a painted lady but a red admiral; however, they are closely related. Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) has the same family name as the red admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

At the end of May 2001, Saddle Rock, Long Island, was home to an explosion of butterflies. Hundreds of the bright orange-and-black shapes flittered about the sky and bushes.

I only had two frames left on my current roll of 35mm film, but managed to get one butterfly perched and one in flight.

What surprised me about the perched photo below is that I expected both sides of the wings to be colored. [Subsequently, a "dull" underside is typical.]

perched Red Admiral
  The following is my in-flight photo, which was mixed luck. Only two-thirds of the final frame was returned, but a scan rescued the ignored negative.
Red Admiral in flight
  What strikes me in particular about this butterfly is how much the shape resembles SF visions of a spaceship or surreal jet.

Wildlife at Saddle Rock: Fowler's toadlet   |   garter snake
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