The Tetrio Sphinx (Pseudosphinx tetrio)

The Tetrio Sphinx (Pseudosphinx tetrio) are large caterpillars that often occur in gardens feeding on Frangipani and other members of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). This moth is widespread throughout the American tropics and subtropics in lowland habitats. Its range extends from southern Brazil through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida, southern Mississippi,…

The Owl Butterfly (Caligo idomeneus ariphron)

This is The Owl Butterfly (Caligo idomeneus ariphron), a subspecies of Caligo idomeneus, the Idomeneus Giant Owl. It is native to Brazil. An owl butterfly is a butterfly in the genus Caligo, known for their huge eyespots, which resemble owls’ eyes. They are found in the rainforests and secondary forests of Mexico, Central, and South America. The Latin name may…

The Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)

The Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) aka Common Morpho, Peleides Blue Morpho, or The Emperor, is an iridescent tropical butterfly found in Mexico, Central America, northern South America, Paraguay, and Trinidad. Its underside is brown in colour. “The eyespots on the undersides of the wings of both males and females may be a form of automimicry in which…

The Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe)

The Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe) aka Rice Paper, or Large Tree Nymph, seen nectaring on the Tropical Rose Hydrangea (Dombeya x seminole) The Paper Kite is of Southeast Asian origin and can be seen at the Wings of the Tropics Butterfly Conservatory at the Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami, FL. I am not too fond of butterfly houses even when…

Vitellius Skipper (Choranthus vitellius)

Vitellius Skipper (Choranthus vitellius) It is a butterfly of the family Hesperiidae. They are named after their quick, darting flight habits. This one is endemic to Puerto Rico and the VI, but  there are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers and they occur worldwide, with the greatest diversity in the Neotropical regions of Central and South America. I decided to post two versions at different…

An Encounter with the Monarch 1st and 4th Instar

I don’t know if you remember, but I followed a Monarch Butterfly Colony for about a month, in a highly urbanised area in San Juan, P.R.. I left to work for a while in the U.S., and now that I’m back, the Calotropis procera plant still has Monarch larvae. However, this time, I began to notice…

A Closer Look at the Zebra Butterfly

On my recent trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa (aka MOSI), Florida, I was able to finally get closer to the Zebra Butterfly. I had been able to shoot it before; but this time I was able to get more images at their butterfly garden.    The Zebra Longwing  (Heliconius charithonia), aka Zebra Heliconian, nectaring on Button…

Madame Butterfly and The Pentas

This April in my trip to Tampa and Sarasota I became familiar with one of the most popular nectar flower plants for butterflies: the Pentas. There are all sort of varieties, but I photographed both red and pink. Seeing so many butterflies I also remembered hearing Maria Callas singing Madame Butterfly, and I decided to…

A Small Review of The Flight of the Butterflies Film

Mornarch drying his wings on Calotropis procera tree in Puerto Rico. ISO 200, 1/125, f/8, @60mm Male Monarch nectaring on Tabebuia heterophylla (White Cedar, Roble Blanco) 1/320, f/11,  ISO 160, @400mm       Finally, today I saw the “Flight of the Butterflies” documentary film at the MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Tampa Florida.…

Flight of the Butterflies Film, and Ways to Help

Flight of the Butterflies is a 2012 Canadian documentary film that covers Dr Fred Urquhart’s nearly 40-year-long scientific investigation into the Monarch butterfly, tracking the details of what is considered one of the longest known insect migrations: the flight of the Monarch butterfly from Central Mexico to the United States and Canada and back. This is a trailer. It was released last year on October the 1st using…

A Follow-up on The Calotropis procera Tree

The Calotropis proceraas it is now. Frequent pruning is required to develop a full, bushy crown. In summer the plant might become semidecidious. It is a frequent bloomer unaffected by drought. I have already pruned this one a couple of times. ISO 100, 1/200, f/11, @60mm I’d like to recommend you an ebook written by Tony…

Monarch Caterpillars Still at Work

Still at work, a third to fourth generation Monarch caterpillar on the tallest of all leaves of the Calotropis procera milkweed tree. Both Monarch caterpillars and their eggs also have natural invertebrate predators of their own. These include the red velvet spider mite and fire ants. Fire ants have been known to attack Monarch caterpillars…

The Male Monarch Butterfly

The Male Monarch Butterfly 1/320,  f/16, ISO 400, @310mm I was finally able to photograph the male Monarch. His wings are not totally outstretched, but you can see the small black spot on his hind wing. You can also see the thinner pigmented veins on this one. I’m so glad I was able to photograph this! Seeing…

Sexing Monarchs

Female Monarch with Outstretched Wings 1/125,  f/8,  ISO 250, @400mm This is a female Monarch. She has thick vein pigmentation, as opposed to the male’s veins which are thinner. She also lacks the hindwing black dots the male has. The best way to sex them is when they are in this position, with their wings outstretched; otherwise it can get…

The Urban Monarch Backyard Legacy

Monarch on Calotropis Bloom 1/800,  f/10, ISO 400, @4000mm Sometimes something in our backyard can grow that we are not even aware of. I consider my backyard “urban”, because even when I live by the ocean, there is a lack of green areas in the city of San Juan. Sometimes, a lot of weeds grow…

Homeward Bound: The Calotropis procera

Monarch Butterfly on Calotropis procera Bloom (Apple of Sodom) ISO 400, 1/240, f/11, @400mm I titled this post “Homeward Bound: The Calotropis procera”, because it reminded me of a song written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel in the 1960’s. The song speaks of all the good things one can find in a place…

Urban Monarchs Continue to Emerge

Urban Monarchs continue to emerge from their chrysalids. The number of caterpillars have diminished, but there is still about 8-12 remaining (that I can count).  ISO 400, f/11, 1/640, @400mm There are chrysalids that have pupated all over the Apple of Sodom tree.  ISO 400, f/11, 1/640, @400mm Some in the oddest places. This is a…