The interest in butterflies comes with a variety of benefits. Let me introduce one which probably wouldn’t come to your mind. This post features Noel, one of our twin boys, at the age of approximately 2 weeks. The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) hatched only moments before taking the image.
A couple days before our twins were born I took another walk to the horse stable nearby. I got slightly off track, following a butterfly which I tried to photograph. Reaching high nettles in the middle of a field, I wanted to have a closer look.
First, I spotted a rolled leaf. This is mostly a sign that an insect or spider has built a primitive shelter. In this case, it was a small caterpillar of the Red Admiral. Browsing further through the nettles, I came across many large caterpillars of the same species. Since they were close to entering the stage of pupa, I collected them. I knew butterflies will hatch only a couple weeks later, and wanted to share this miracle with our daughter.
Raising caterpillars needs dedication, though. After our boys were born I had to collect some stuff for my wife from home. On the same trip, I also had to pick fresh nettles for the caterpillars.
The bonus of all the care-taking are the photos one can shoot with “fresh” butterflies. Butterfly raising offers a special moment once an individual hatches. Before being capable of flying the insect first needs to dry its wings.
Take your time to have a close look during this time frame. The butterfly won’t fly away. It’s also the moment for taking a proper macro shot without the rush. Or stage a shot, as depicted in the photo series below.
Please keep the fragility of butterflies in mind. The slightest touch on its wings will result in permanent damage. Place your finger in front of the insect, and allow it to walk on it. Place your finger to the desired spot and allow the “accessory” to take position on its own.
Did you know…
The Red Admiral is a migrating species. If flies from north Africa and southern Europe to Finland in spring for breeding. In autumn, the adults of the next generation head south again as they have not yet learned overwintering in Scandinavia.
Source: Wikipedia (January 9, 2014)