Common, Or Perhaps Not

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Butterflies are becoming more and more visible as summer begins to wane.  Today, I was wandering around in the desert and I came across this pretty individual.

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This is a fairly large butterfly with a wingspan of a little more than two inches.  It is obviously a little worse for wear.  One often sees butterflies with chunks bitten out of their wings, the result, perhaps, of encounters with hungry birds.

What is it?  I am a bit perplexed, as frequently seems to be the case when I attempt to identify butterflies.  It is certainly a Fritillary.  But, what species?  I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities.  Either it is the relatively common Variegated Fritillary or the very uncommon Mexican Fritillary.  It sort of resembles both species but does not look exactly like either one.  Odds favor it being a Variegated Fritillary, of course.  Mexican Fritillaries, as their name implies, are native to Mexico and rarely wander across the U.S. border.  But, they do, occasionally, and that’s why I cannot be certain about this one.

Photo taken with Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens, ISO 200, “M” setting, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, f16 @ 1/160.

2 responses to “Common, Or Perhaps Not”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    Whether it’s the Mexican or Variegated variety, it is a beautiful butterfly!

    • stevenkessel says :

      Yes, I agree, Liesl. I found this one in a brushy patch up on a hillside and it stood out from the surrounding vegetation and rocks as if it were illuminated by neon.

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