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Machaon on a Rainy Day in May.

Machaon on a Rainy Day in May.
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-04
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Vienna Woods - Biosphaerenpark Wienerwald [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-25 11:53
Viewed: 4974
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Machaon on a Rainy Day in May.

European Swallowtails are strong and wary fliers, busily chasing each other in the meadows, hardly ever sitting down when briefly sucking nectar. It takes some patience to get a close-up of one of them resting with open wings – or a lucky short shower of rain that makes them sit down in vegetation and seek shelter at once.

If that shower of rain is just an intermezzo between sunny spots, they do not even close their wings but keep them widely open in order to keep warm by collecting the hidden sun’s remaining rays of warmth. Raindrops seem to be repelled by the fine structures of scales and hairs.

When resting for minutes in a such a position of warming up, swallowtails are exposing strikingly clear yellow and black warning colours resembling giant wasps. The patterns are further accentuated by blue margins leading to conspicuous red eye spots at the lower end of wings.

Together with the pair of protruding tails the eye spots seem to serve as a false head, diverting attacks from birds and lizards away from the body towards the end of the wings, allowing the butterfly to escape. Otherwise well intact swallowtail butterflies may indeed be seen quite often with one or even two tails and eyespots missing – without notably affecting their ability of rapid flying.

Papilio machaon (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Papilionidae.

Wingspan 70 - 80 mm

European Swallowtail, Schwalbenschwanz, Koninginnepage, Makaonfjäril, Svalehale, Svalestjert, Swellesturtflinter, Ritariperhonen, Machaonas, Makaon, Macaone, Le Grand Porte-queue, Fecskefarkú lepke, Lastin rep, Paź królowej, Vidlochvost fenyklový, Otakárek fenyklový, Махаон, бабочка, метелик, Голям полумесец , ...

Widely distributed over the most parts of the Palaearctic region, P. machaon may be seen in Europe in two to three generations from April to October, one generation in the mountains. While the continental subspecies ssp. gorganus shows a migratory habit, the endemic British subspecies ssp. brittanicus does not leave its habitat and is therefore much more vulnerable.
Caterpillars are feeding on Apiaceae (e.g. Daucus carota, Foeniculum vulgare), and Rutaceae (Ruta graveolens, Dictamnus albus).


Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, Stuttgart 1998.

C.Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe: www.lepidoptera.pl



The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 18mm macro-zoom setting (equiv. 110mm at a conventional 35mm SLR), F/5.6, 1/80 sec., ISO-125, -0.3 bias; no tripod, no flash; 04.05.2008, 12:32.

Photoshop Elements, slightly cropped, downsized to the web, selectively resharpened, levels slightly adjusted.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.

Argus, mariki, nglen, carper, rdfoto, fartash, gracious, marhowie, Miss_Piggy, uleko, anel, Juyona, Alex99, smitha, maurydv has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To waylim: ... butterfly loverpeter_stoeckl 2 08-01 00:54
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-05-25 11:58]

Hallo Peter,
Besser geht nicht ist einfach perfekt.
Grüße aus Neuss

Hello Peter,
Well composed. I like the diagonal line. Effective point of view.
Well done

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-05-25 12:20]

Hello Peter,
Lovely close-framed image of a Swallowtail showing a full view of its open wings. The diagonal composition is great and the light of an overcast day if probably better than full sunshine to give just the right colour nuances.
But I hope you get some sunshine too!
TFS this excellent image,
Best regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-25 12:32]

Hi Peter. This is an excellent close up of this beautiful butterfly. You have very sharp focusing and detail in the markings. good natureal colours with a nice POV. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2008-05-25 12:49]

it's a fantastic one peter,
good quality here, fine details and mavelous colours I like the good photo job here, have a nice evening.
groet Jaap

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-05-25 13:27]

Bonjour Peter
Très belle prise, excellente netteté et couleurs,
très beau sujet.
Amicalement Robi

Dear Peter
Excellent shot of this European Swallowtail,
Perfect details,exposure and BG.Superb shot my friend.


Hello Peter,
Very nice photo of this beautiful Swallowtail, with amazing details and colours. Best regards,

Hello Peter,
Here comes my friend best presentation of his excellent work on butterfly!
perfection in size posting to view and enjoy the closeness on the Swallowtail!
sharpness, colour and details, you had it all!
many thanks, pete!
take care and regards

Hi Peter,
You've filled the frame with this beauty, excellent work.
Great that you were able to cash in on this opportunity, it's rare to catch em' resting with wings open like this.
My Pleasure :)

great shot, nice closeup and detail and focus, nice colors too

Hallo Peter
What a delightful butterfly and absolute feast to the eye. This is really a gorgeous image with lots of detail to appreciate. This butterfly is formed perfectly and the colours are spectacular, especially at the lower part of the wings. It looks as if it was painted by hand and can surely be seen as a piece of art. Great framing and great lighting applied, and great clarity displayed. A splendid presentation. Thanks for sharing, and have an enjoyable day.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-05-26 0:38]

Hello Peter,
A wonderful close capture of one of my favourite butterflies that we don't often see here. Impressive sharp details and beautiful colours. Excellent diagonal composition too.
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

Hello Peter,

Excellent capture of this swallowtail. Perfect sharpness. Wonderful colours. Excellent exposure. Perfect picture despite overcast weather :-), I agree totally with Ivan.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-05-26 1:16]

Guten Morgen Peter,
Da ist er ja schon wieder der Machaon , diesmal mit wunderbar ausgebreiteten Flügeln. Klare, farblich sehr natürliche Darstellung dieses schönen Exemplars. Du hast wunderbares Licht erwischt, das die Farben zum Leuchten bringt und jedes kleine Detail zur Geltung bringt. Bravo
Mit herzlichem Dank

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-05-26 1:38]

Hello Peter,
Wonderful presentation of this Swallowtail. Colours, details and composition are really perfect. Great POV and BG.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-05-26 1:58]

Absolutely brilliant, Peter.
Wonderful composition, colours, patterns, sharpness - you name it - it's all good!

Wow! Beautiful wing view...perfectly composed, excellent sharpness showing all the markings perfectly. Well done! :)

Trés joli machaon.
Belle image.Mes compliments.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-05-26 14:15]

Hugely impressive capture of this stunning Swallowtail!
The colours are amazing!
Very, very sharp and incredibly detailed.
Great composition and frame-filling crop.
Superb DOF too.

Very well done, Peter!


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-05-27 6:25]

Hola amigo,
siempre genial,
hermosa macro, detalles y foco,
composición y pov.
saludos Peter.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-05-27 19:34]

Hi, dear Peter.
What a splendid specimen of swallowtail butterfly you have met. Its coloration and details are amazing. I like wonderful composition and filling of the frame. Scenery at whole is natural and pleasant for look. Soft lighting and rich colours is great combination. DOF is selected precisely and small blurriness of the grass on BG are so nice. Well done and my kind regards.

Hi Peter, splendid machaon with wonderful open wings, fantastic colors, superb details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Meravigliosa macro, eccellenti POV e composizione diagonale con la posa sull'erba, straordinaria definizione della "texture" delle ali, splendidi i colori. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

thanks for you nice comments.
I see you are a butterfly lover. They are beautiful, all those in your gallery. Quite a collections there. This one is no different, great clarity, natural color, the details and texture of the wings are amazingly good. The rain certainly has saturated the green nicely for this shot. Simpley beautiful and lovely. Thanks.

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