<< Previous Next >>

Warning Colouration

Warning Colouration
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: 2007-04-11
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 400D, Canon EF 300 f4L + Canon 1.4 converter
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-01-05 2:18
Viewed: 5926
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 106
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Yet another image of this spectacular butterfly, the one that gave rise to a name that covers the genus Papilio, the swallowtails.

I posted a similar image some months back and this was another take of several but as it is still dark and cloudy, the chances of posting up-to date images are very limited. So why not come up with something bright, taken on the sunny island of Cyprus?

The Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) is widespread over a great part of the northern hemisphere, occurring in several subspecies. It is nowhere abundant and is usually seen singly. Whenever seen, it is so striking with its black and creamy yellow colouring. This striking colouration is also a kind of warning colouration that helps potential predators recognise a species that tastes unpleasant.

Its caterpillars, also warning-coloured in the later stages, eat species of Umbelliferous plants that contain strongly tasting chemicals, plants that can be used by us as tasty ingredients in our food. These plants include fennel, aniseed and parsleys. The caterpillars have the ability to concentrate these chemicals as ingredients in their bodies to such an extent that they become repulsive to eat. Not only that, when alarmed they put up an orange organ behind the head called an osmeterium that gives off a strong scent based on these substances. This can deter a potential bird predator.

The adult butterfly still has the same chemicals in its body and is therefore still repulsive as a meal for a bird and its striking colours work as a reminder to a bird that had once tried to eat it.

So striking insect colouration, beautiful to us, is usually repulsive to birds!

However, if a bird is not deterred, there is a second line of defence: the row of eye markings on the hind wing will tend to induce the bird to peck at those instead of the body, so that the Swallowtail has a chance to escape.

This image was taken on a hazy bright day with the camera hand-held. As the swallowtail was typically fluttering its wings while feeding, a high shutter-speed was necessary to the detriment of the DOF.
Afer cropping and size reduction the image was selectively sharpened.

fartash, mariki, Silvio2006, jcoowanitwong, Ena, cicindela, Maite, mjaniceanne, pvs, phlr, eqshannon, red45, matatur, Alex99, jaycee, nglen, SelenE, Juyona, accassidy, MMM, CeltickRanger, Adanac, haraprasan, peter_stoeckl, falke, ramthakur, marhowie, earthtraveler, angybone, nirmalroberts, Luis52, boreocypriensis, jusninasirun, zulfu, iris has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: ThanksArgus 1 01-07 04:19
To falke: ThanksArgus 1 01-06 08:14
To cicindela: ThanksArgus 2 01-05 04:36
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hello Ivan
Woonderful shot of this beautiful Swallowtail,
Perfect focusing,composition and lighting,
Superb shot.

Good Luck

Hello Ivan,

Very nice POV and composition. Wonderful colours.
Well done,

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2008-01-05 3:08]

Beautiful picture with nice composition and very good sharp and detail

WOW! This photo is worth a comment. The colors are brillant. The detail of the butterfly is stunning.


hi ivan
lovely shot. great colours and pp work

Hello Ivan,
You froze the moment nicely. Swallowtails are graceful and wonderful to look at. This one is no exception. Enjoy reading your informative note. TFS.

  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-01-05 3:51]

Hi Ivan!
Excellent shot!
Beautiful colors and good composition!
Good focusing!

Hello Ivan!
What a colourful, optimistic and "sunny" picture in this rather gray and cloudy winter day :) I like it a lot! Especially that this is a very good macro picture, with vivid colours, good sharpness and DOF (even if some parts of its wings are out of focus). This is an adult specimen, but did you ever photographed a caterpillar?
Friendly yours,

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2008-01-05 4:21]

Bonjour Ivan,

Bravo pour cette superbe photo,tous est parfaits.
Félicitations pour la grande qualité d'image.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-01-05 4:34]

It looks spectacular!!
How beautiful the composition with the marvellous butterfly standing out upon that beautiful bg. Even the small Crupina is a beauty.
Congratulations for this splendid shot.
Best wishes

Beautiful shot, Swallowtails are always hard for me to take a decent shot of with all the constant movement. Your notes are very helpful.

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-05 5:36]

Hi Ivan,

A great capture of this swallowtail on a clean OOF BG,although the focus is not on the flower and head of the butterfly but more on the wing,I must say that this picture is well worth the upload and I am only jealous on your capture,tfs


  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2008-01-05 6:00]

I miss the days with 300mm and 1,5m min focus distance. Very nice capture Ivan, TFS.

Hello Ivan.
Very nice picture of this butterfly.
Nice colours and composition

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-01-05 6:41]

Hello Ivan,
Very good photo of this Swallowtail. Excellent details and colours. However there's a bit of noise round the butterfly and the flower. But focus, composition and BG are fantastic.

I think I was mentioning this variety of butterfly perhaps yesterday in a critique of Rams...and was going to look for one in my archives..mine is double tailed...but not as close to sharp and wonderful as this one is....I feel the slightly OOF wing tips adds a dimensions..now I say this without reading others, nor yours...but this is a very large butterfly as you know and if one has never seen it, then a picture without a certain depth might belie its true size. Very nicely done Ivan.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2008-01-05 7:08]

Hi Ivan!

Very sunny, colorfull and warm picture! Thank you for remaind us summer in winter times. Royal butterfly with very good sharpness, pose and DOF.

Hi Ivan,
What a perfect combination of a swallowtail and the flower it feeds on! The POV and DOF are perfect, so are the BG, lighting and the color capture, the resulting composition is exquisite. TFS.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-01-05 8:05]

Hi Ivan.
Last year, April was the most rich for butterflies in our region too. So colourful and wonderful scene. Perfectly composed shot, excellent POV, very good sharpness (may be DOF is a little shallow). Smoothness and colour pattern of the BG are superb too. My compliments and best wishes.

hello ivan,
what a beautiful capture of this big swallowtail butterfly, the composition is nice, lovely colours,
tfs & regards

i love that specimen, you caught a wonderful pose
good photojob :))

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-05 10:07]

Hi Ivan,

Your archives must be chock full of beautiful images. At least your bad weather gives us a chance to see them. A beautiful butterfly with marvelous details of the wing markings. Lovely soft colors and background. Hope you get some sun soon.


Hello Ivan,
I do not want to miss this excellent composition of a beautiful Swallowtail well captured by you!
great pose with best DOF in sharpness, awesome bright colouration and details to enjoy
thanks for the informative notes
best regards

Ciao Ivan,
due sono le cose che più mi piacciono in questa splendida foto di Papilio machaon.
La posizione della farfalla, in equilibrio sul fiore e l'iridescenza azzurra delle ali posteriori che sei riuscito a riprodurre in maniera magnifica.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-05 11:57]

Hi Ivan. A good look back at the summer. its seems a long time ago now .you have a very good close up of this beautiful butterfly. you have captured it with fine detail and rich but natural looking colours. a nice pov/dof. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-01-05 14:16]

Hi Ivan,
Very good shot of this beautiful swallowtail under the bright sunshine. Composition, colors, POV, and details look so nice. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-01-05 14:37]

Hola Ivan,
bello trabajo y gran compo. y color,
perfecto bg y excelente pov,

Lovely image, Ivan. Good notes. Thanks.

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-01-05 16:28]

Hello Ivan
Beautiful composition.Sharp image whit great colors.I also like that beautiful OOF BG.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-05 16:41]

Hello Ivan

A very beautiful composition,the POV is excellent.
The classic butterfly on the flower pose is enhanced by the actual beauty of the butterfly itself.
The lighting has produced some vibrant and vivid colours here,and the butterfly stands out well against the OOF BG.The BG has a lovely bokeh to it.
Nicely done.


hello Ivan

very beautiful macrophoto of this butterfly in his action,
wonderful background, beautiful colours and excellent
details of the subject, excellent pov and framing, TFS


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-05 18:41]

Hello Ivan,
I like reminders of nicer days for sure. This is an excellent image with great camera work, thanks Ivan.

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2008-01-05 21:11]

Beautiful with excellent details.

Hi Ivan, superb papilio with wonderful colors, great details and excellent sharpness, beautiful composition with lovely flower and good blurry BG, very well done, have a great week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-01-06 2:31]

Hi Ivan,
i seem to have missed a few of your latest shots! This one is very impressive, very nice Bokeh and DOF, with your customary sharp detail - very well done!

Hello Ivan,
pleasantly well lighted, well composed capture of a swallowtail balancing on a small Scorzonera blossom in fluttering motion, the blurred appearance demonstrating the volatility of the moment so well.
Interesting notes - always fascinating to think about the functions of an animal's or a plant's "pretty" coloration and pattern in terms of possible survival strategies. Why does the human species normally judge such a twice dettering pattern as the swallowtail's in such a different positive way? If we ever had any insect eating ancestors, they seem to have left no traces in our anthropologically determined attitudes.
Thank you! With best regards,

Bonjour Ivan
Superbe prise magnifiquement cadrée, netteté et couleurs au top, bravo
Amicalement Robi

  • Great 
  • falke Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 153 W: 18 N: 479] (1863)
  • [2008-01-06 8:05]
  • [+]

Beautiful colours here, Ivan. I love the "snabel" (don't know the english word... trunk?) and the reflection in the eye. The composition is a s always first class!


Bonjour Ivan,
Vraiment magnifique queles belles couleurs, les détails sont superbes et le BG met tout en valeur.

A lovely Swallowtail, Ivan.
Such images from summer time are always heart-warming.
Your note on the colouration is very informative and useful. Thanks.
I ordered your book from Amazon.com just a few minutes ago. Will reach me by the end of the month. Looking forward to reading it eagerly.

Hi Ivan,
Very good camera settings to stop the action of this beauty.
The composition, POV, color, BG, and exposure look great to me..a most pleasing image.

Hi Ivan,
Fine shot of this Swallowtail.
Great details, pov, and color.
The butterfly and flower are so delicate.
Super isolation from the BG and excellent note.
TFS, Richard

This photo jumped out at me from your gallery...beautiful shot...classic composition. Your work is always great though! :)

Hi there, Ivan - I must add to the numerous praises! This shot is an incredible capture! Butterfly must have been moving - but you've done an excellent job with the focus, that we can't really tell! Great action shot! (Of course, you must tell me if I'm wrong about that...remember, I'm new at this!) Add to that the wonderful dof and background colors that so wonderfully complement the butterfly's own colors and the posing, you have created a breathtaking work of art! Congrats!


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-01-11 9:18]

Hello Ivan ! That's a wonderful shot my friend ! The details are very sharp, the background is nothing less than perfect and the composition is fantastic. Well done you're a master, thanks !


Hello Ivan,
Very nice and well composed shot of this beautiful butterfly. Thanks a lot for sharing.
- Nirmal

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-01-16 18:52]

Hola Ivan.
Hermosa y fina foto la de hoy, de esta Mariposa.
Colores muy naturales, y un exelente fondo. La flor donde se pose es muy hermosa tambien.
Saludos Luis52.

Hi Ivan,
I know this nice butterfly from my homeland:) You caprured it in its natural habits. TFS friend. Greetings.

Hello Ivan,

I will keep coming to your gallery looking at all your wonderful shot. Thanks for sharing them with us.

This is almost flawless shot of a butterfly. Very pleasant single flower perch against the clear background. I like the softness of the color in well managed depth and contrast.

Well done and have a wonderful weekend.


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-03-04 9:31]

Hello Ivan, splendid shot very well focused, wonderfull natural colors and lovely pose.

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-05-10 5:06]

ANother wonderful with excellent accompanying notes Ivan.I like the central PoV that you have used with a very mute brown BG.Yes, such are the amazing ways of nature that a beautiful creation as this can be repulsive to another set of living beings.
Very well done.
TFS & Cheers

Wonderful bright colors and clarity.


Hi Ivan,
This is a very beautiful photo.
Everything is just perfect!
Kind regards

Calibration Check