A summer of learning: Butterfly upperwings and underwings

My first “wow” butterfly moment in the summer of 2015, described in Butterflies Part I, was really about butterflies and moths, and their antennae.

The second moment of amazement is this realization: One butterfly, and in fact each individual wing of that one butterfly, can be very different when seen from above or below. Their upperwings and underwings may be “painted” with starkly different colors!

Here is one view of a White Admiral butterfly (described in this Wikipedia article—Limenitis arthemis arthemis)— the view from above, or the dorsal wing surface.

For a larger image, click here:

The same species looks very different when showing off its underwing (ventral wing surface), as in this photo:

… and this larger version

Now how about this— sometimes male and female butterflies have different upperwing colors! (So says this kids’ butterfly page).

What I am hoping to convey is that insects (and Lepidoptera) in general, and butterflies in particular, are gorgeous, and that my summer was one of wonderment, months filled with the joys of flashing color, moments of revelation, the joys of learning.

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