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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-08-23
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-02-18 11:56
Viewed: 4381
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Neptis sappho (Pallas, 1771)

Pallas‘ Sailer, Schwarzbrauner Trauerfalter, Сапфо, …

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Limenitinae

Wing span: 42 – 44 mm

This image, quickly taken from long distance under hard light conditions, and therefore certainly not a very good one, is intended to add an open wings view of the Pallas‘ Sailer, a butterfly that is not observed very often in Europe.

On a trekking trip through the South Western parts of Romania, where unspoilt nature still seems to be prevalent, I had the chance to observe that pretty, fragile looking butterfly a few times along the path through the deciduous forests of Cerna valley. Its characteristic gliding flight seems to be slow and relaxed, but Sappho proved to be very wary and hard to approach when sitting down and basking in the sun with open wings for just a few seconds only.

Distributed in the Palaearctics from Japan and Korea through Central and Southeast Asia into Southeast Europe, Neptis sappho seems to be very local species at the western fringes of its range. In Europe it may be found at a few locations in Northeast Italy (Gorizia), in Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Northern Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

Sappho is an inhabitant of damp deciduous woodland associated with river valleys, flying in two generations: Mid May to late June, and from late July to August. Larval host plants are Lathyrus vernus, Lathyrus niger.

The North American neophyte tree Robinia pseudoacacia with its wonderful sweet smelling Leguminosae blossoms in May has been rapidly spreading in Central and Southeastern Europe over the last decades. It is reported to have been accepted as another host plant by Neptis sappho lately. So there is the paradox situation that a plant that is is considered to be an unwanted invasive species is giving a locally threatened butterfly species a good chance to recover.

From Austria, where Neptis sappho already was reported to be extinct, it is rsaid to be spreading again since the late 1990’s, probably also thanks to the spreading of the pretty but highly invasive and therefore unwanted Robinia trees in the river forests.

But I haven’t seen Sappho in Austria yet. I had to go to Romania to meet her for the first time.

Location: Cerna Valley near Baile Herculane, at an elevation of 600m.


Christian Stettmer, Markus Bräu, Patrick Gros, Otmar Wanninger: Die Tagfalter Bayerns und Österreichs, Laufen/Salzach 2007

Helmut Höttinger, Josef Pennerstorfer: Rote Listen ausgewählter Tiergruppen Österreichs: Tagfalter (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera & Hesperiidae), Wien 1999

Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Collins Butterfly Guide, London 2008

Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. Stuttgart 1998

Christopher Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe. http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

The camera:

SONY DSC-HX1, 3456 x 2592 pixels, sRGB, 100 mm tele zoom (equivalent 560 mm at full size SLR), F/5, 1/400sec., ISO-125, bias: -0.3, hand held, no flash. 23.08.2010, 16:30.

Postwork: Photoshop CS4, heavily cropped, levels adjusted, selectively resharpened after downsize to web.

To all my dear friends from beautiful Romania.

Thank you for your visit.
Have a very good weekend.

oanaotilia, Argus, maurydv, flashpoint, ramthakur, KOMSIS, anel, Alex99, meyerd, petrudamsa, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: point-and-shootpeter_stoeckl 2 02-21 00:12
To anel: ... ein schönes Wochenendepeter_stoeckl 1 02-19 15:10
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter
Beautiful photo with very good composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-02-18 13:26]

Hello Peter,
This sappho is worn but the capture is sharp and fresh-looking. The harsh lighting was well managed to five a fine exposure and natural colours and the composition with the leaf Bg is perfect.
A very fine portrait of this species of Neptis and I thank you for sharing it.
Enjoy your weekend,

Hy Peter
Another image from my home country. I think that I saw this butterfly last summer but I don' t remember the blue reflections of the torax. Very well fotogrphed,with good details.
Thanks for sharing and for your oppinion on my pictures.
Have a nice weekend!

Ciao Peter, fantastioc butterrfly with wonderful colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hallo Peter,
a very good macro shot of this marvellous butterfly, fine details, perfect, not easy exposure with splendid colour tones, excellent POV and composition
Have a good weekend

Great picture of this lovely butterfly from your trip to Romania, Peter. Your simple point-and-shoot camera has produced a marvellous picture with superb clarity and richness of details.
It is a pleasure to view your work as and when you share it with us.
Warm regards.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2011-02-19 1:41]

Hallo Peter,
Romania butterfly.!
Shadow of the beautiful butterfly antenna and a "W" formed. Well composed shot. Excellent details on the wings.
Have a nice weekend,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-02-19 6:12]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
Gute Idee den Schwarzbraunen Trauerfalter mit geöffnetetn Flügel zu zeigen.
Schön in Szene gesetzt auf dem feinen grünen Blatt, das ihm den perfekten
Hintergrund und Farbkontrast liefert. Ich staune immer wieder über die guten Bilder, die Deine Sony Cybershot liefert! Auch ist der Fotograf nicht zu vergessen.
Ein schönes Wochenende noch
Herzlich grüsst

Hi Peter - a very good capture of the butterfly. Colors are vivid. TFS

hello Peter
very nice light and good pose
great details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-02-19 11:37]

Hi, dear Peter.
Once more brilliant shot. Precise reproduction of all details of the beautiful butterfly and so impressive leaves. Bright sunlight is fine and it is a great pleasure to watch such sunny shot in these days. Exposure and colour reproduction are stunning. Every colour shade is visible perfectly. I also amazed with shadow from insects. Antennas in the shadows are crisp sharp too and give some charm to shot. Colours are awesome as well as composition is. Bravo. Great job.
P.S. Your suggestion is wonderful. Unfortunately I cannot make long trips because of my very old health problem. Only short (2-3 days) trips by car are accessible to me. Many thanks.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-02-20 1:48]

Hi Peter,this is a very rare and impressive beauty,I never seen in my country.A beautiful composition whit an excellent light balance,sharpness and natural colors.Your data camera are very interesting for me..eeheh..Thanks for share,have a nice Sunday,Luciano.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-02-20 3:01]

Hello Peter,
such a beautiful capture of this striped butterfly. The sharpness is excellent and the wide opened wings are really fascinating in giving the details and the refined view of its features.
Abundance light really pushes this view into a wonderful one.
Excellent composition.


  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2011-03-02 10:17]

Lieber Peter,
Du bist wieder da, ich eigentlich nicht. Hab Dank für deine Bemerkungen zum Laufkäfer.

Mit gefällt am Bild die Komposition und die Falterart, der ich noch nie begegnet bin, meine Entomologen- Seele eben.

herzliche Grüsse, Dieter

Hi dear Peter,
So nice macro with great details and nice sharpness too.
Colours and light are very good.
Very well done.

Kind regards

Hi Peter, beautiful sappho. Not common in northen Romania, but I've seen it ocasionally (in Maramures County)

Cheers, Petru

Hi Peter,
Although you said this photo isn't your best, I like it a lot, plus I'm very jealous. :) I only saw this species once in my life, on a very special day (please read the story here - although this species isn't included among the mention 7). I tried to capture the specimen at least 50 times, but all my photos became a piece of sh*t - yours is not only acceptable, but pleasing to the eyes, both light- and composition-wise. Thank you for sharing this beauty.
Friendly regards, László

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