Hello Friends and Family,

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Butterfly Wonderland, Part 1

Butterfly Wonderland is a new attraction located in Scottsdale. It is part of a larger planned entertainment and education complex, which will eventually include a huge aquarium, IMAX theater, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Arizona Experience (interactive, multi-media show together with live actors depicting Arizona's past, present and future), MagiQuest (live-action interactive game that immerses players into a world of fantasy propelled by technology) plus the customary shops and restaurants.

This first part of the larger complex is wonderful in its own right — with thousands of butterflies from around the world flying freely in an atrium mimicking a lush, tropical landscape. The free brochure shows pictures and names of three dozen of its lepidopterous inhabitants. Unfortunately for me, there are more varieties flittering about than that — so I will try to name them — but keep in mind, I am no expert and may get some wrong. Feel free to correct me if you know.

Arched-wing Cattleheart which, accord to the brochure, is Neotropical (parts of Central and South America).

Banded Peacock perched on the green concrete block wall.

In nature, the Banded Peacock is found in south Asia where it likely blends into the foliage wherever it lands.

The Blue Morpho has a completely different color scheme on the underside of its wings than the top. If you look closely you will note a tiny sliver of blue along the forward edge near the top of its wings.

The advantage of this difference in coloration and the eye spots becomes evident in this feeding tray. Just imagine the challenge to a predator when confronted with this mass of wings.

However, when the Blue Morpho opens its wings, it is spectacular. Too bad this one's wings are tattered — probably near the end of its short life.

Blue Morphos were flying everywhere but capturing the image of one in flight is next to impossible. Then when they land, they close their wings. Thus this was the best shot I could get the day I was there.

A little research shows that the same variety of butterfly may show variations of coloration. I am guessing this is the case with what could be a Blue Morpho — or not.

This appears to be a Dark Blue Pansy from Africa.

This appears to be a closely-related Pansy — similar to the previous image — exact variety to be determined.

One needs to take great care to watch where you are stepping — some butterflies such as this Buckeye seem to like landing on the sidewalk. Buckeyes find their home in North America.

To be continued.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com