Even though I still have to study in July, not all is bad. As I was reading the script in the shade in front of the house, something “huge” flew by. My butterfly radar went up like Jerry Falwell’s penis in a gay bar, and I quickly realized this is something “new” for me. Surely enough, the thing started basking on Pyrus tree bark, and I quickly dashed for my camera upstairs. When I returned, it was gone - of course. But a small stroll around the pond quickly bore some fruit. The butterfly was sucking on a very ripe and damaged pear. Trying to take a picture, I of course scared it away to the tree top, hence the blurry image due to zoom, sorry.
Oh, this is Apatura iris, by the way, from a family of butterflies called Nymphalidae. Notice the blue shine on upper side of the wings. This is characteristic of males. A similar species is Apatura ilia, and you can separate them apart by a few markings. First, A. iris has only two eye spots on the upper wing side, but you can see 4, because two upper ones on the underside of front wings are shining through. Underside of the hind wings also differ. Also, in A. iris, the white band on hind wings (still upper side) is more linear than in A. ilia, which has a more wavy line. I’ll return to this post as soon as I can score some A. ilia pictures and compare them later. No point in writing about various characters if you can’t really compare them. However you can always go to leps.it and see it there. My picture pales in comparison to the wonderful work of lepidopterologists who contribute to mentioned professional site.