Layers of Disguise

Layers of Disguise

The tasty (to birds and animals) red spotted purple butterfly evolved to mimic the unpalatable and toxic pipevine swallowtail as a survival tactic by disguise. Its vivid blue is not blue, but appears to be so by the physics of structural color, using shapes and patterns to catch, bend and reflect light.

Butterflies of any color are a classic symbol of transformation, but not the transformation you sit around and enjoy as it happens. It’s a transformation that threatens your very existence, several stages, each of which have dangers. It’s a transformation that takes work, persistence, focus. But to become a butterfly…

Is it a messenger in my back yard? I have so few butterflies since the deer have eaten most of my plants and regularly consume any flowers that manage to bloom. This lone butterfly was so exciting to see and follow with my camera. Its omen is said to be positive, calming, reinforcing, a spiritual path well-followed. But I have not seen one here before now. When it cruised through and landed on the burdock leaf I thought it was a black phase tiger swallowtail, very similarly patterned for the same reason of mimicry and self defense, which I hosted by the dozen in years past. But its host plant, the black cherry tree, is very near. I guess we’ll see if a solitary visit of a new species with such features turns out to be significant.

And then a different pattern and color underneath.

Another Disguise

Butterflies are magic no matter what angle you take.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, visit my galleries of Photography on Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “Custom Prints” for availability and terms. I'll be more than happy to make a print for you.

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