Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Story Behind the Photo: Little Gem, Close Look

Story Behind the Photo: Little Gem, Close Look

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Oct 11, 2019 09:34 AM |
Filed under:

Every year, WTA invites photographers to share their favorite photos for our annual contest. Photographer Cathy Clark shared this up-close butterfly shot during last year's contest.

Cathy Clark was hiking Sauk Mountain early in the morning when she noticed this butterfly settled in on a plant along the trail. 

Cathy has learned a lot about butterflies thanks to the Washington Butterfly Association, which she has been a member of for 10 years. She has also worked on the Cascade Butterfly Project to document any adjustments butterflies must make in response to climate change, as well as recording information about host plants and nectar sources.

45034074552_7495ead1f3_k (1).jpg
The Clodius parnassian has a stunning color embedded in its wings. Photo by Cathy Clark.

Cathy says the Clodius parnassian is very common at Sauk Mountain. Because butterflies’ flight muscles don’t work until about 60 degrees, she was able to enjoy a long, close look to identify it.

Cathy says an interesting feature of this photo is that it shows the female clearly mated recently – the waxy covering over its abdomen, called a sphragis (chastity belt), is courtesy of the male and prevents her from mating with other males.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.