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Will the Caterpillar Survive?

Will the Caterpillar Survive?
Photo Information
Copyright: Ivan Kruys (Argus) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-07-17
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 50D, Canon EF 300 f4L + Canon 1.4 converter
Exposure: f/8, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-07-18 4:33
Viewed: 3742
Points: 78
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have been a bit delayed in responding to those of you who were kind enough to give me critique on my godwit picture. The reason was that I am just back from a whole day trip 350 km north with a friend to photograph two species of rare butterfly. I hope to catch up soon.

In the meantime I would like to share this image of one of these rare target species with you.

Apollo Butterfly (Parnassius apollo scandinavica)

Swedish name: Apollofjäril

This species has been shown several times on TN, but I don’t think the female has ever been shown ovipositing. Some species of butterfly oviposit a little distance from the larval host plant, so that the larvae can eat the fresh shoots during the spring. The Apollo butterfly is most remarkable in this respect. The eggs are laid singly on lichens, as here, or a twig or mosses and sometimes the distance to the closest host plant (Sedum album or Sedum telephium) can be several meters. In this case the nearest plant was about 10 meters away.

The caterpillar overwinters in its eggs shell to crawl out in the spring and find its host plant. Does it do this by scent? How can a tiny caterpillar just 2-3 mm long crawl 10 meters to find its host plant? The mysteries of nature are many and surely many perish in the marathon attempt.

This is another species that has drastically declined owing to modern agriculture. Only 60 years ago it was to be found in most of Sweden. Now it can only be found along the E. coast from the Stockholm Archipelago and about 200 km southwards. But it is most common on the limestone island of Gotland as the nominate ssp. apollo. On the Swedish mainland it survives in lime-rich coastal areas as the ssp. scandinavica.
The habitat consists of lichen-encrusted smooth rocks where grasses and the host plants can grow in the cracks.

This was taken at a distance of about 3 meters and after slight cropping it was slightly selectively sharpened.
The two species of lichen are:
The dark species:
Coelocaulon aculeatum
The light-coloured species:
Cladina arbuscula

zetu, siggi, JORAPAVI, Vinster, thor68, parasbhalla, ramthakur, goatman04, nasokoun, boreocypriensis, nglen, cloud, oldferret, zulfu, Luis52, jlinaresp, jaycee, eqshannon, CeltickRanger, valy67, lousat, albert, jcoowanitwong, goldyrs, Noisette, meyerd, red45, maurydv, sandpiper2, Silvio2006, KOMSIS, anel, Nephrotome2, peter_stoeckl, flashpoint has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-07-18 4:38]

Hello Ivan
A beautiful species of butterfly I never seen until now. Excellent details and wonderful natural colors.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-07-18 4:48]

Hello Ivan
well close-up working on this beautiful Apollo
i like composition, point of view,background, depth of field, colours,sharpness and note
thanks for sharing
Best regards Siggi

Hola Ivan,
Bonita captura de este bello ejemplar, excelente definición con una luz y color muy natural, saludos
José Ramón

Hello Ivan
I've always wanted to se this pretty species, and you have captured a great shot of it. Well exposed and focussed and a very interesting note too!
Kind Regards

Hi Ivan,

Amazing capture of the Apollo butterfly, wonderful!

Unfortunately, I have never seen it before :(

Great POV and well framed with nice background colors. I like the great matching flair between white-colored flowers and your white butterfly with black-red colored spots. Simply great! Great facial details indeed.

Thanks for sharing.

Paras Bhalla

Despite the light BG, this beautiful Apollo stands out sharply, Ivan.
Excellent management of light here.
Hope your trip north was successful.

Hello Ivan,

A beautiful capture of this rare butterfly with great coloration patterns, sharpness & details.

Well done & TFS. No need to lie Ivan...we believe you...hee hee!

Best Regards


excellent close-up, especially at 420mm, prevents the butterflies from flying away i guess too. details and sharpness
are really great, love the red spots on the wings and the lichen, interesting place to lay the eggs.
wonderful job & best wishes, thor.

good evening Ivan
very well litted up scene, in colours of butterfly they attributed wonderful ,a very beautiful presentation and photo
TFS thanks for sharing

Merhaba Dostum Ivan,
Welcome back from your daily trip firstly. You captured this Apollo from fine with superb details, great DOF and delightful composition.
Have a nice Sunday MF!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-07-18 12:17]

Hi Ivan. This is one i would like to see one day. From your POV we can see both sides of the wings and the markings. The underside having the red . taken with fine detai land sharp focusing. It looks like it has a large body or it may be just the angle. Looks good on the lichen. Well done TFS us this beauty.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2009-07-18 12:18]

Hello Ivan,
What a splendid species. This butterfly and BG have very similar colours.
Regards, Pawel

Hi Ivan,

A great shot of a beautiful butterfly not know to me. Great colours and focus with good dof. TFS and have a nice weekend.

regards Bill

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-07-18 13:28]

Hello Ivan, great close-up shot of this beautiful butterfly with nice composition.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2009-07-18 13:38]

Hola Sr. Ivan.
Bella foto. Exelente detalle en la imagen lograda aqui. Muy cierto es que hay muchas fotos de esta especie de Mariposa, pero ninguna ovopositando como se puede ver aqui.
Exelente detalle Sr. Ivan.

Hi Ivan..
Honestly never seen this one before....Fantastic colors different pattens and great shot....Well done..Interesting notes...TFS.

Hello Iván,

It is a kind of strange and beautiful butterfly, great photo. Thank you very much for letting us see this rarity, which has got accustomed to your talent.

Beautiful composition, nice angle!



  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-07-18 16:25]

Hi Ivan,

I have not seen this beautiful butterfly before nor have I seen one ovipositing. A truly amazing picture. Her colors and wing patterns are lovely. Great timing to capture the moment so well.


Now that was worth posting and for me reading..I was not aware.....only you....

hello Ivan

excellent macro photo of this butterfly on action, fine POV,
its pose and action gives dynamism to the photo,
fine focus with excellent sharpness and details, TFS


Hello Ivan !
That's amazing, you even know the names of the lichens - is there anything you don't know about nature ? :-) And this is such a wonderful picture ! The details are wonderful on this rare species, the sharpness and textures are splendid, the composition and the POV are great, and of course you have captured a fantastic moment. I like how the red stand out among all these greyish colors, it's very pleasant to look at. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-07-19 2:01]

Hi Ivan.....what a beuatiful Apollo! It's a fantastic pic,all is perfect,from the colors to the sharpness,from the pov to the background.I must say thanks for your work.trip in the north and i hope to see for many many years this species..they must survive! Have a nice Sunday,LUCIANO

Hello Ivan,
Excellent macro of this beautiful Apollo butterfly, I like the soft colours of your photo
Have a nice sunday

Hello Ivan,
A beautiful picture of this rare species. Perfect timing to get this shot. Very well done.

Hi Ivan,
A nice capture of this beautiful Apollo butterfly ovipositing. Very good sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Sad, again to see another species in decline, Ivan...
A beautiful, rare shot!!
Very well done!

Hello Ivan
the Apollo Butterfly is a beauty, i have seen this species only on photos
i like the half open wing pose, the lighting on the wings, the silvery surroundings and the very sharp details
Have a good night

Hi Ivan,

the definitive Apollo picture, lots of light, lots of action! No need to pile up more compliments here.

My best regards

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-07-20 0:46]

Congratulations Ivan! This is very rare and special butterfly! Still lives in some mountain parts of Poland, but I've never seen it in my life. Fantastic composition with grey lichens and frontal POV. Seeing this butterfly not on colorfull flower is really surprising. Great post!

Hello Ivan,
what a wonderful picture of this splendid butterfly, i also hope to succeed to photograph this rare species, but is not easy; outstanding sharpness and marvellous bright colours, perfect exposure, POV and composition are excellent. A very great work.
Best regards

Hi Ivan

Great note, I can't believe they lay on licens that far from the host, remarkable.
Great shot of the adult. Good sharpness and details, good DOF.
Great composition.


Ciao Ivan, thanks my friend, I never see this wonderful butterfly in my country, may bee there is in Umbria but I try in all our mountains and never find, superrb macro with splendid light and colors, fantastic details and superb sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-07-20 9:03]

Hi Ivan,
Nice and lost a butterfly ... Apollo
Yesterday for this butterfly, Bursa Uludağ went up to 2300 meters.
I found one, but I did not pose, ran away ...
Excellent details-sharpness and wonderful natural colors.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-07-22 4:21]

Hello Ivan,
Missed this very special and interesting picture, but it's never too late to come back on it. The wings are so well lightened and both sides are remarkably sharp. And to catch this beautiful butterfly laying eggs, that's really great. I never have seen it before. Thanks also for the explanation of your note.
Meilleures pensées

Hallo Ivan
This is indeed a beauty, no question about it. The almost see through wings are such a delight to look at, and I am sure if one should touch it, it would bruise. It looks very fragile and brittle and one can easily compare the texture of the edges of the wings to a piece of thinly shaved ice cube. You have taken this image with great clarity and detail and I especially refer to the fine black dots on the wings and the fluffy hairs on the body. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Ciao Ivan. Spectacular and impressive capture. Very good colours and perfect details. TFS.


Maravilloso juego de la luz con el color y esa belleza de mariposa de protagonista. Una de esas fotos diferentes y que destacan sobre el resto. De cuando en cuando esta es una de tus características !!

Saludos: J. Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-08-02 21:09]

Hi Ivan,
as usual you shot is very captivating. This one is very graphical. The background is special and unique and the butterfly is sharp and well shown with great texture.
Beautiful and so different from other shots.


Hello Ivan,
that is an excellent capture of Apollo: the way you approached the target from a slightly frontal point of view, capturing a very dynamical open wing position, making perfect use of backlight to show the transparency of wings in a very fine way, a perfectly placed focus and depth of field to cover the whole fjäril, a most attractive slightly structured bright background - not to forget the successfully made rare documentation of ovipositioning. My congratulations!
Interesting to read about the species' unusual way the eggs are placed in a long distance from feeding plants.
Always a pleasure to see this majestic butterfly in nature, and to see that threatened species documented in such a masterly way as here.
With thanks, and best regards,

ciao Ivan!
excellent first shot (which I missed)
of this particular and unique species
of Parnassius apollo ..
good pose and very sharp details

thanks and tfs sERGIO

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