Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dainty Sulphurs continue

Back on July 12, I wrote HERE about an unprecedented invasion of dainty sulphurs, Nathalis iole, into Ohio. In most years, just a smattering of reports - if that - are made of this southern species; this year, scads of the little flutterers have been reported from all over the state. If you look at the range map from the post cited above, it's apparent that many a new dot will have to be added to the state map. Numerous county records have been made this summer.

I'm keenly interested in the invasions of southern immigrant butterflies such as the dainty sulphur, and dragonflies, too. Such insects, with their well-developed powers of flight, may well prove to be hyper-responders to global warming. It'll be interesting to see if the 2012 irruption of dainty sulphurs was just a fluke, or if such invasions of southern insects becomes an increasingly regular occurrence. I'll bet we see more of this sort of thing.

Our crew of last Saturday ran into several dainty sulphurs along the banks of the Ohio River, in Scioto County. The little fellow above was quite cooperative, and allowed me a very close approach. Dainty sulphurs are tiny, not a lot larger than your thumbnail, and typically fly low to the earth and perch on the ground or atop short plants.

To photograph such a creature well, one must be willing to go prostrate. I crept fairly close to the butterfly, then slowly moved into a position flat on my belly. This put me within a few feet of the sulphur, and permitted a perfectly side-on view, which depicts this species well. The photo above is ever so slightly cropped, and that's it - no other post-processing tweaks. I shot it with my Canon Rebel T3i with 100 mm macro lens, using faint fill flash from a Canon EX 430 II Speedlite. ISO was set at 200, aperture was f14, and shutter speed was a somewhat sluggish 1/60. By laying flat, it's easy to use your forearms as a tripod, and thus hold the camera still enough to compensate for slower shutter speeds.

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