Currently viewing the category: "Nabokov"

butterfly or moth
Location: Benton, AR
August 23, 2011 7:03 pm
I say butterfly and son says moth. Searched through pics til I wore myself out last night. Interesting little critter who did a marvelous job of posing. How bout settling the question and tell us more about this specimen. Thanks,
Ron Dupree
Signature: I am usually right.

Red Admiral

Dear Ron,
You are correct, but we hope you don’t gloat over this.  In your son’s defense, lists that try to oversimplify distinguishing a butterfly from a moth often cite the wing position as a factor.  Generally, moths rest with wings open, like this Red Admiral butterfly, and butterflies generally rest with wings folded over the body.  This may have led to your son’s confusion.  The Red Admiral was one of author Vladimir Nabokov’s favorite butterflies, and he poetically called it the Red Admirable, though in Russia it is also known as the Butterfly of Doom because great numbers migrated in 1881, the year Tsar Alexander II was assassinated.

I won’t gloat……….much.  We enjoy good-natured kidding and, as the one who has been around a bit more than my son, I am usually right but always ready to be corrected.  In fairness, I noted the folded wing position a few times also.  Thanks for making our wildlife viewing more enjoyable.  You do a good service…..keep up the good work.

We wanted to come back to this positively gorgeous butterfly.  Dark butterflies often spread their wings in the sun to absorb heat.  Dark Nymphalids, the Brush Footed Butterflies, often hibernate.  Red Admirals might hibernate, but Mourning Cloaks definitely do.  Butterflies that rest with their wings open often do so to absorb warmth.

Butterfly or Moth
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
June 8, 2011 8:19 pm
Hi. This evening I saw what I thought was a butterfly in my yard, but after looking at pictures and trying to identify it, now I’m not sure what it is. It seems to have two ”legs” that I do not see on any of the butterfly or moth photos online.
This sighting occurred in St. Petersburg, FL at approximately 6:15 p.m. on June 8. It landed on one of my potted plants and stayed there (slowly ’flapping’ its wings) for a minute or two.
Signature: Stephanie

Red Admiral

Dear Stephanie,
We wonder if perhaps you are confusing the antennae for legs.  This is a Red Admiral Butterfly, and it has a coast to coast distribution in North America, and it is also found in Eurasia and in Russia, according to Vladimir Nabokov, it is known as the Butterfly of Doom because in 1881, the year Tsar Alexander II was assassinated,  great numbers of Red Admirals migrated.

Hi, Daniel.
Thank you so much for the identification!  I’ve never heard of a Red Admiral but I feel blessed to have seen this beautiful creature in my yard.
The ‘legs’ I referred to are shown below in my photo (with the arrows).  None of the photos of butterflies that I viewed online showed these ‘protrusions.’  (see example on the right.)  My butterfly looks like a little bat!  I’m thinking maybe there is another set of lower wings that aren’t fully extended …
Thanks again for your help.

Hi Stephanie,
Your butterfly has damaged wings, and the vestiges of the wings were mistakenly identified as legs.

Location: my frontyard
March 15, 2011 8:04 pm
what kind of butterfly is this
Signature: n/a

Red Admiral

Dear n/a,
We are often amazed at the lack of information that some people provide when requesting identifications.  There are numerous reasons that a location field is provided on our form, but knowing where a sighting occurred often helps us to narrow down the identification possibilities, thus simplifying the identification process.  While it is great that this butterfly was seen in your front yard, it would be far more helpful for us to at least know what continent your front yard is located on and it wouldn’t influence our identification if this butterfly was photographed in your back yard or even your neighbor’s yard.  Your signature inclines us to believe that you want to maintain your anonymity, which is perfectly fine with us, and that might also explain your reluctance to include a relevant location.  The sparse wording of your request indicates that perhaps you are in a hurry, and you can’t be bothered taking the time to compose a complete sentence other than the demanding phrase that you typed out, and we understand that for personal and professional reasons, many people do not have the luxury of composing a tome when they submit a question.  There is an understanding that questions and images submitted to our website may be posted online, and publication is something that should be taken seriously.  Now that we have chastised you, we can tell you that this beauty is a Red Admiral,
Vanessa atalanta, though we much prefer the name Red Admirable that was coined by our favorite author and amateur lepidopterist, Vladimir Nabokov.  Your front yard might be in California, or Virginia, or Moscow, because the Red Admiral can be found around the world in the Northern Hemisphere.  According to the University of Michigan Animal Diversity website, it has also been introduced to New Zealand where it breeds.  Vladimir Nabokov also stated in a 1970 interview that the Red Admiral is known as the Butterfly of Doom in Russia because large numbers migrated in 1881, the year Tsar Alexander II was assassinated.

New Red “Admirable” Pics.
Location:  SE Michigan
September 7, 2010 10:25 am
Dear Bugman: As per your recent mention of not receiving any new photos of Red ”Admirables” lately, I am submitting these two, to fill the void. Both of these Red Admirals were shot in SE Michigan. The under-wing closeup was taken in my backyard, on a Buddleia bush. The other was shot in a field at an area Metro Park, along Lake Erie. The colors and iridescence on the close-up butterfly were spectacular, making me wonder if it was very recently emerged. Not a single wing scale was out of place and it was very calm and content, allowing me to take many super close-ups.
Signature:  Christine

Red Admiral

Hi Christine,
Though we don’t expect to convince the world to begin calling this cheerful butterfly a Red Admirable instead of the accepted Red Admiral, we cannot help but to be amused by Vladimir Nabokov’s wry sense of humor and his play on words when he coined the alternative name.  Thank you so much for correcting the void in our archives due to the ongoing dearth of recent images of
Vanessa atalanta.

Location:  maryland
September 5, 2010 4:23 pm
I have different (hundreds) of baby and adult butterflies outside. Can you tell me what types these are?
Signature:  Butterflies

Common Buckeye and Two Silver Spotted Skippers

Dear Butterflies,
All of your photos are lovely, but we have just recently posted photos of Red Spotted Purples and Tiger Swallowtails.  We really like your photo of a Common Buckeye and Two Silver Spotted Skippers (See BugGuide) sharing a sedum inflorescence.  Thanks for sending your photos.  Buckeyes along with Red Admirals, Red Spotted Purples, Fritillaries, Morning Cloaks and the other Anglewings are among our favorite North American Brush Footed Butterfly species.  Vladimir Nabokov called the Red Admirals
Red Amirables, and they are also known as the Butterfly of Doom in Russia because of a swarm during the year of some 19th Century Czar (Tsar).  We would love a new photo of a Red Admirable.  We just noticed no one has ever responded to our Who’s On Top? query.  Look at it this way, there is a 50/50 chance you will be right.  Just make up the answer and let us prove you wrong.

ALERT:  We just found the most beautiful butterfly collection on the planet.
September 5, 3:50 PM.
Nabokov’s Butterfly Collection.  It includes his favorite butterfly, The Red Admirable.