Monday, May 7, 2012

Red Admiral Butterfly

The red admiral butterflies have been out in abundance lately.  Here are some of my favourite shots of these beauties....

The red admiral has some distinctive patterning that make them quite easy to identify.  The males and females are similar looking. 

This one looks like it has escaped death a few times.  The tears in the wings are most likely from birds. 

The underside of the red admiral's wings are very intricate.  See how it is holding its wings together over its back while resting... this is one way to determine that it is a butterfly.  The clubbed antennae is another characteristic indicative of a butterfly. 

For fun, I played with my focus a bit to create this abstract. 

Check out the following websites for more info on the red admiral and butterflies in general:

Friday, May 4, 2012


The butterflies were out in abundance yesterday.  I had never seen so many butterflies out all at once!  My neighbour had called me up to her house to photograph all the butterflies in her backyard.  Most of the butterflies were red admirals.  There were also a few question mark butterflies as well.  That is not a question by the way... the butterfly is actually called the question mark!    It seemed a lot of mating was going on... it must be Spring! 

While taking some pictures of a particular red admiral, I noticed that it had a piece of fluff on its leg.  I was actually a little disappointed, as I thought that it would detract from the photo I was attempting to make.  I managed about five shots of it before it flew off, and then continued taking photos of all the other butterflies in the backyard. 

Imagine my surprise (and joy!) when I downloaded my photos to my computer and discovered that the annoying piece of fluff (my over 40 eyes don't see like they used to!) was a fascinating little creature!  I had a pretty good idea as to what it was, so with a little bit of googling I determined that this was a pseudoscorpion! 

I am still researching this little arachnid, but for now, here are the...

Juicy Tidbits
  • Ranges between 2 - 8 mm in length
  • A predacious arachnid with venomous pedipalps to help it subdue its prey
  • Related to the scorpion... harmless to humans and pets
  • Beneficial to humans because they eat many other insects that are thought of as pests.  This includes clothes moth larvae, carpet beetle larvae, ants, small flies, mites and booklice to name a few.  And according to my photo, they perhaps eat butterflies as well
  • They live in leaf litter, under rocks, under bark and within decaying wood
  • They can end up in your home, but are harmless 
  • Are also know as a false scorpion or a book scorpion
Enough talk... let's get to the pics!

A pseudoscorpion hitching a ride on a butterfly's leg.  Click the photo for a larger view

A cropped in version to give better detail of the pseudoscorpion

I am uncertain as to the fate of this butterfly.  Was the pseudoscorpion simply hitching a ride, or has it found itself a scrumptious (and rather large) meal?  If you know have any more information on this fascinating creature, please feel free to comment! 

May 11th update:

According to the good people at, the butterfly will not fall victim to this little beast.  The pseudoscorpion was indeed just hitchin' a ride!  Thanks for the info Ken Wolgemuth

The following websites were used in gathering my information... Check them out for a better understanding of this incredible arachnid!