Little Empress

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Not all butterflies are big and showy.  There are some small ones flitting about this time of year and some of them are real charmers.  Tonight’s subject is one called “Empress Leilia.”  No, I don’t know how she got her name, but, I think you’ll agree, she’s beautiful.

Understandably, a lot of butterflies tend to hang out around gardens and cultivated flowers. That’s why Tohono Chul Park or the Sonoran Desert Museum, with their butterfly gardens, are paradises for photographers this time of year.  But, Empress Leilia is a real individualist.  I’ve found this species often in some of the thorniest parts of the desert, far from cultivated blooms.

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This butterfly is not very big, perhaps two and one-half inches from wingtip to wingtip and it is less brightly colored than some other species.  It comes in subtle shades of burnt orange and brown.

But, it is extraordinarily beautiful.  It’s beauty is especially evident when it sits with its wings folded.

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Empress Leilia is a southwestern species.  It can be found in parts of Texas, New Mexico, and southern Arizona and in northern Mexico.  One can start seeing these butterflies as early as in the spring, but they are particularly easy to find this time of year.

Photos taken with Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5L Macro lens, assisted by 600EX-RT Speedlite, ISO 125, f14 @ 1/160.

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