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camberwell beauty butterfly by Andy

Nikon D5000. Sigma 105mm macro lens. 1/100 f11 iso200. Integral  diffused flash. Cullmann shoulder pod. 15/08/2015.

Camberwell Beauty Butterfly

(Nymphalis Antiopa)

I had some Camberwell Beauty also known as "Mourning Cloak" larvae on order for a few years but in the end I agreed to change to pupae for an extra cost. I enjoyed seeing and filming these large attractive butterflies and liked how they rested as a group in the night sheltering under my buddleia cuttings even stroking each other with their legs. The Camberwell Beauty is a very handsome butterfly especially a freshly emerged specimen. I thought they were quite striking when it opens and flashes its wings when alarmed. Wishing I had more time to film them I released most of my butterflies knowing they did not have many days left.

The Camberwell Beauty Butterfly is a rare migrant to the UK and as an overwintering butterfly rarely survive our winters. The wingspan is large 60-70mm the males are smaller.
The upper-wings are dark brownish maroon with a pale yellow margin around the edges of the wings separating the maroon and yellow with iridescent blue spots on black. The underside of the wings is blackish brown with a pale yellow margin and well camouflaged when at rest with wings closed.  I even thought one had escaped for two days because I could not find it resting. Like most larvae that feed gregariously the eggs are laid in a cluster around a twig feeding on willows, elms, poplars and other trees.


Photography:  This is not the easiest of butterflies to film at first many of my photographs of this lovely butterflies maroon coloured wings were too dark almost black it depends on the angle and the lighting. I remember my son asking where does that maroon colour come from when I showed him my pictures on my camera because he thought it was a black butterfly. I found diffused integral flash worked well or my ring flash although this can look flat showing no shadows.

Andy Newman Images©