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Texas Discovery Gardens

2014.09.14
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If it wasn't so young you might think it was dying and turning fall colors.
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Don't know what it's called but this coming up from a fern looked really evil. If it had been larger I'd used a longer lens to take this shot.
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Natures spiral staircase.
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This might be a Piano Key Postman (Heliconius erato cyrbia) but I'm not entirely sure.
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Many of the butterflies hung upside down and I'm wondering if they were getting something from the bottom of the leaves. This one's not on my little chart so I don't have a clue what it is.
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There were, as would be expected, many flowering plants inside the enclosure for the butterflies to feed on.
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Not on my chart either. The chart only shows the open wing view of butterflies and not the under wings, unfortunately.
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There was a basket near the exit of the house with about a half dozen of these pitcher plants hanging off the sides. This was the best of the specimens. It was about four to five inches tall not including the cover.
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This beautiful butterfly is a Tawny Owl (Caligo memnon) from Central and South America. It's a large butterfly with an open wingspan of about 5.5 inches. When the wings are open, from the bottom, the image of an owl's face appears.
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Another of the plants especially supportive of a variety of butterfly.
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This is one of the Tawny Owl (Caligo memnon) butterflies with the wings open from underneath. I believe this one was dead and had been staged for us to see. About 6 inches across.
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With the wings closed, this doesn't look like a perfect match for anything on my chart. Looking at the end sections of the wing I think it may be a Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa). If anyone knows, let me know.
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A couple of Orchids in the lower damper section of the road. They were beautiful.
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I'm guessing another type of Orchid but I have no idea what kind. The petals were a beautifully soft green.
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This is a Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) and it was as beautiful as it was large. I tried to shoot one flying from above but even at ISO 1600 and shooting wide open I just couldn't stop the motion of one of them. The top of the wings are a beautiful blue and black. Morphos are large, river/understory flying butterflies that feed on rotting fruit.
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Another of the flowering plants in the room.
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I got several shots of this variety but I can't find them in my chart. Anyone know, please let me know. These had about a 2.5 inch wingspan. With the coloring on the body I can imagine it's called a tiger something-or-other.
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I was told that this is a male Black and Gold Birdwing. The guide only shows the female which is not quite as colorful. From the top, the wings were black and iridescent bright lime green. Even burst shooting at 12 frames per second I still couldn't get a flying shot from above.
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A little look from the side.
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I believe this is a Blue Clipper (Parthenos Sylvia lifacinus) from Asia. The butterflies are shipped to the Discovery Garden in pupa stage and hatched on site. There are a couple of glass boxes hung near the exit with dozens and dozens of pupae hanging from a slanted ceiling so all are visible.
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This is a beautiful Paper Kite with wings partially open. Danaids and glassywings feed on poisonous milkweed and nightshades as caterpillars making them bitter to predators like birds and mammals. They advertise their bitterness with aposematic (warning) colors, usually a combination of orange or white with black. Many have polka-dotted thoraces.
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Part of the North American Nature Photographers Association who were participating in the shoot. The man facing, in the gray shirt was the organizer. We had about 20 people involved in the shoot.
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This was a Large Tiger (Lycorea cleobae) from Central and South America. He looks like he's ready to taxi to the runway and take off.
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A pair of Daddy Long Legs as we call them. I was surprised to see these out with all the butterflies.
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Sorry, not a clue on this one. I think that's probably why it's sticking it's tongue out at me.
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I know you've heard the phrase that the last one is the rotten egg. Can you guess the egg in this one?
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Here's what comes out of those pupa above. Paper Kites (Idea leuconoe)
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Last for the day but not the least. This nasty looking tarantula was in a nice little glass house all his own out in the lobby. It was almost as big as my hand. Really, it was nasty looing. I don't think that this is a local resident. When I was a kid my grandfather would have all of us neighborhood kids collect tarantulas from the street. He would then take half a dozen or so and let them climb around on his bare chest. Talk about screams. He sent kids scattering in all directions. None of us would even think of touching one. We used sticks and boxes to catch them.
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The Texas Discovery Garden is located in Fair Park in Dallas, TX. It has both indoor and outdoor areas to look at. Today you see the indoor butterfly area with plants, butterflies, and other stuff. (On the soapbox) Why are they called butterflies since what they do is flutter by you and have no contact with butter? (Off the soapbox) There is a wide variety of both plant and animal life within the glass area. You enter through an airlock on the second floor and work your way down a ramp to the main floor and exit. It is a photographers paradise since you can roam through the plants and get pretty close to the butterflies. If you're in town for the State Fair this month, take time to stop in. Well worth the fee. Tomorrow, I'll show you a little of what goes on outside. Enjoy!
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Category: Nature
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Tagged: butterflies plants spiders flowers
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