The butterfly was resting on the green leaf of ivy surrounded by a thick layer of dead foliage fallen from the branches of the nearest tree.


It was a pretty cold morning, so the insect wasn't as spirited and prone to fly away as on a typical, warm and sunny summer day.


The butterfly was so calm that I was able to come extremely close with the macro lens and show you the minuscule scales that form the shapes and colors displayed on the beautiful wings. In this species, the Limenitis reducta, the upper surfaces of the wings are covered with two types of scales. The pigmentary scales are coloring the wings through the presence of melanins, pterins, and other chemical pigments. And then, there are the amazing structural scales. They produce the visual spectacle by the refraction, diffraction, and interference patterns of light that strikes or passes through their semi-transparent structure.
In the case of this particular brand of diffraction, the light is broken into lighter or darker bands after passing through a grid of microscopic bubbles or slits within the scales.
In the case of refraction, the light is broken into its constituent colors as a result of passing through prismatic ridges on the surface of the scales.
Interference patterns occur when the light is passing through clear layers of varying density and is reflected in such a way that the colors change with the angle from which the thing is viewed.


In ambient light, the wings of the Limenitis reducta vary from dark brown or black to lovely blue iridescence. Since the morning was cloudy, the light was very low under the shrubs and trees, so for all these photographs, I used the flash of my camera to get a well-lit scene.


Under the flash, the iridescent blue turned into iridescent shades of dark and olive green. When it comes to photographing insects, the iridescent ones are the most complicated. The magic of the structural coloration is best captured in subdued diffused light when the shutter speed must be very low.
But then, even if the butterfly isn't at its visual best in these photographs, the flash revealed some interesting new shades that can't be seen in natural light.


Limenitis reducta, commonly known as the southern white admiral is a species that I always associated with hot summer days and plenty of sunlight. It was strange and very cool to encounter it in this gloomy, autumnal atmosphere, on the carpet made of fallen leaves.

In this photograph, you can take a look at the wider setting, the forest park called Busoler, situated at the edge of the city. The city of Pula.

To me and other inhabitants of Medulin, my hometown, Pula is the nearest city. I had to drive a little less than ten kilometers to get there. This time, I was in the city because two friends of mine had to buy some stuff in one of the shopping malls in the suburban part of Pula.


While they were busy shopping surrounded by other customers, I was enjoying the quiet morning in the nearest wood. First, I noticed the butterfly that started this post, and then, I came across a beautiful red shield bug that had some very elegant, stylish black decorations.

This is the Eurydema ornata, a species from the Pentatomidae family. Nymphs and adults feed on various, both wild and cultivated, plants from the Brassicaceae family. In the area around my hometown, they can be seen in big numbers on cabbages. Here at the edge of the city, I found only one.

A couple of meters further, always on the fallen leaves ...

... I found a cluster of minuscule eggs attached to the lower surface of the rotting leaf. Can't tell you what larva or nymph came out of them, but they definitively look like insect eggs. You can't see it well n this photograph, taken with the flash of my camera on, but ...

... these things had a bit of metallic shine that looked great in ambient light. Meanwhile, five, six, or maybe even ten meters from there ...

... the Limenitis reducta butterfly was resting on the same green leaf surrounded by a layer of brown, fallen ones.

Always in the same area, soon I found another colorful bug. This is a very small, very young nymph of the Pyrrhocoris apterus, a species from the Pyrrhocoridae family.


This is a completely developed adult.

Here you can see another nymph. This Pyrrhocoris apterus is fairly close to its adult stage. After this encounter ...

... I got a call from my friends. Their shopping was done. It was time to walk back to the car and drive to pick them up in the large parking lot of the shopping mall.


Before leaving, I said goodbye to the butterfly that hasn't changed its place or its pose.


On the way back home, we stopped by the side of the road, almost exactly halfway between Pula and Medulin, to photograph the thick clouds and the heavy rain that was falling in our hometown.

Ten minutes later, when we reached home, the sky above Medulin was partially sunny but the streets were wet and shiny.


In this last photograph, you can take a look at the sky in the direction of the city.

The following links will take you to the sites with more information about the protagonists of this post. I found some stuff about them there.


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