Clear Wings

I've been trying to shoot one of these guys since I started shooting butterflies in the front yard, but until today I've never seen one that wasn't right up on the highest flowers of the hedge, and thus out of reach. It's a Clearwing Swallowtail Butterfly (Cressida cresside), and I think this individual is a female. When these butterflies first emerge from the pupae they are coloured just like any other butterfly, but the tiny scales that give them the colouration are very loose in this species, quickly falling off to reveal the transparent wing structure beneath. 60D + CZ 135mm.

I’ve been trying to shoot one of these guys since I started shooting butterflies in the front yard, but until today I’ve never seen one that wasn’t right up on the highest flowers of the hedge, and thus out of reach. It’s a Clearwing Swallowtail Butterfly (Cressida cressida), and I think this individual is a female. When these butterflies first emerge from the pupa they are coloured just like any other butterfly, but the tiny scales that give them the colouration are very loose in this species, quickly falling off to reveal the transparent wing structure beneath. This particular individual still has some scales in patches. 60D + CZ 135mm.

And for bonus points, here is a 100% crop from the above image. You can see how the wings have lost their scales in most areas, but not in some.

And for bonus points, here is a 100% crop from the above image. You can see how the wings have lost their scales in most areas, but not in some, as well as the underlying structure of the wing. A lot more similar to other insect wings than you would think looking at a normal butterfly. Also, this lens is awesome. 60D + CZ 135mm.

Shannon Walters

An amateur photographer who also spends time making chainmaille and doing too many other things to mention.

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