Project 52 No 16. From Bees to Butterflies: a full circle

4 03 2011

I’m just back in Kingston, after travelling for 3 days from Bariloche.  Now that my field work in Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina is over, it is time for us to take stock of the samples and get them ready for laboratory analyses.

This week’s Project 52 picture was taken in the very same spot where  I took the one of a bumblebee at the beginning of the month (No. 19).  Four weeks later, the thistles are starting to shrivel up, and a few trees have even started to turn yellow early. In other words, despite it still being the heyday of a beautiful summer, there are clear signs that fall is coming to this part of the world.

I particularly enjoy how the colours of the butterfly and the thistle complemented each other in this image.  The purple lines around the wings and the wing spots as well as the purplish tinge on its body complement the thistle beautifully. By using a shallow depth of focus, I was able to make the sunlit green wings and its eyes stand out against the green grassy background despite the similarity of the colour.  I also like the symmetry of how taking this insect photograph on my last day at the CAB campus, mirrors the one of the bee taken at the beginning of my stay.

Colias spp. Butterfly on a thistle in Nahuel Huapi

My tentative identification of this lovely butterfly species is that it’s within the Colias genus. Without an Argentina butterfly guide with me, I was not able to narrow this down to species level, although several photographs of a very similar butterfly found online claim that this is a native C. lesbia pyrrhothea. (Any help with identification?) This genus falls under the English common name of “clouded yellows”.

Very recently, this species has become fairly common in flower fields around Bariloche. Those butterflies were not easy to photograph as each one only stayed at each flower for a fraction of second. To get this image, I had to pick a suitable flower, focus on where I hoped a butterfly would land, and then wait. My goal was to capture the effect of the sunlight shining through its wings while minimizing any lens flares, especially as I did not have a lens hood or macro lens. This particular butterfly decided that the thistle was worth visiting, despite the human crouched by it, and dropped by for a quick sip.



2 responses

4 03 2011

Love the contrast of the bright fuchsia and the green butterfly. Also thank you for sharing your experience. As we are still in winter and slowly sliding into spring, your summer season is waning–puts the world into perspective for me.

4 03 2011

Thanks! I also love the recent photo of the heron which you just posted on your blog ( and your story of how you happened to see this opportunity while biking up the bridge.

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