Gulf Fritillary Butterfly — A Bit Much?

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If you like your colors bright, verging on the garish, then today’s post is for you.  Personally, I find it a bit much, but hey, I don’t criticize how my subjects dress, I just photograph them and report.

Perhaps the most brightly colored butterfly that we see in the Tucson area is the Gulf Fritillary.  This relatively large butterfly is a southwestern species whose range extends well down into Mexico.  It is active in these parts from March through October. It is most often seen starting about now.  To say that it is  brilliantly colored is an understatement.


I photographed this individual the other day perched on a Bird of Paradise plant, something else that wins no awards for subtlety.

I’ve often wondered why some species of butterflies are so brilliantly colored.  Do they sport all of that chrome in order to attract members of the opposite sex?  Or do the bright colors at least sometimes serve as a form of camouflage against predators?


This individual does blend in nicely with the plant on which it is feeding.  Perhaps, those brilliant colors, rather than attracting predators, actually serve as a way of concealment in plain view?

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 mm f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 160, f11 @ 1/160.

One response to “Gulf Fritillary Butterfly — A Bit Much?”

  1. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    A beautiful butterfly, and not a bit too much!

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