A drab brown butterfly rests on a tree trunk, its jagged outline providing a perfect camouflage against the moss, twigs and broken branches of the tree. The underside of this … Continue Reading What a beauty! Different wings for different duties.
I often find, when I take a set of photographs, that I am initially disappointed with the results. The reason being that one has such great expectations regarding the results, … Continue Reading Red lacewing – beauty in warning colours
Last October (2017) I had the pleasure of spending a few days in a delightful bungalow at Malee’e Nature Lovers Bungalows; a delightful resort, nestled under shadow of Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s … Continue Reading Denizens of the dappled forest: butterflies
One of the pleasures of trying to photograph butterflies, is that you never know what you might find. One afternoon last November (2017) in northern Thailand, as the sun was setting … Continue Reading Tigers in the grass: milkweeds and mimicry
When I first came across this large spider, I wondered what it was doing with a piece of old leaf. Large Nephila spiders like this produce large asymmetric orb webs on … Continue Reading Leaf butterfly: caught in the net!
Last summer I made a number of visits to the Hotel Semáforo de Bares, an attractive location in NW Spain, with panoramic views over the sea and Cape Bares (Cabo … Continue Reading Swallowtails in Galicia: Subspecies and generations
Although the Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon) has a very restricted distribution in the UK – along the south coast of Dorset – it is widespread and abundant in Spain, where it … Continue Reading Frisky skippers: courtship of the Lulworth skipper.
Asian hornets (Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836) are an invasive species from China which have recently become very abundant in Galicia in Spain – as well as elsewhere in Europe – as I … Continue Reading Asian hornets fighting over an apple
It is not unusual to come across mating butterflies, although sometimes copulation takes place well away from where they normally feed or defend territories: for example, in the tree tops … Continue Reading Mating Gatekeepers
The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the … Continue Reading Rock (and roll!) Grayling
There is a huge diversity of different courtship behaviour in butterflies, but one feature appears to be universal: female butterflies ‘almost never fly towards males to mate’ (Scott, 1973). In … Continue Reading Lang’s Short-tailed Blue: courtship behaviour
These nine images, which appear here in temporal sequence (from top to bottom), show a male Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) butterfly flying around a female. I am not sure exactly … Continue Reading Iberian Marbled White – courtship sequence
If you go to college (I studied Zoology) you learn a lot of exciting new words and phrases – things like parapatric speciation – very useful for impressing your friends at the … Continue Reading The Bath White: a parapatric species or a peripatetic pierid?
Finding a mate is one of the biggest challenges facing any animal which relies on sexual reproduction. For butterflies, the process of finding, recognising and attracting a mate usually rests … Continue Reading Butterfly body language
We are in the middle of The big butterfly count which is a nationwide survey run by Butterfly Conservation, Friday 14 July to Sunday 6 August, to assess the status of the nation’s butterflies … Continue Reading Common but extremely beautiful: The small tortoiseshell
Males butterflies in the family Lycaenidae, the so-called Blues, typically have brightly coloured, iridescent colours on the upper (dorsal) surfaces of their wings. Vivid blue iridescence such as this on the … Continue Reading Bright iridescent patches are honest signals!