Butterflies at Reiman Gardens

I volunteer in the butterfly wing at Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa.  As a butterfly wing docent, I escort people into and out of the butterfly conservatory and ensure compliance with the conditions of the permit.  That means I help make sure that butterflies don’t escape.

I enjoy interacting with people as they visit, but there are also times when no human visitors are there, and I can do a little butterfly photography.  I am more interested in photographing wild butterflies, so I consider this to be practice in a way.  Still, I can concentrate on getting something new or unusual.  Here is a small sample of recent photos:

This is a Grecian shoemaker butterfly, Catonephele numilia. It perched on the concrete ledge near the exit, and pretty much posed for this photo.

This is a clipper, Parthenos sylvia.  I like this photo because of the detail in the eyes, as well as the view of the lower surfaces of the wings.


These are Ismenius longwings, Heliconius ismenius.  The butterfly wing usually has several species of longwing butterflies, and these little pre-mating dances can often be seen.  The female basks with her wings spread horizontally, and she will be visited by males, often several at a time, and often individuals of more than one species.  The males more or less hover above here, and the female will occasionally respond by twitching her wings.  I have taken many poor quality photos of this behavior, but I like this one because the image is in focus while still capturing the sense of motion.

One thing I greatly enjoy about this opportunity is seeing people who are noticeably less tense when they leave than they were when they arrived.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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