Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Xerces Blue

 Desktop Wallpaper · Gallery · Nature   Blue Butterfly - Xerces Blue

"X" me an unusual letter and oft used symbol. I had, at one point, decided to write about "X" as it applies to symbolism. As I explore this topic it became apparent that it was too dry a material for my taste. Then it came to me, from somewhere out of the vaults of, perhaps, a college Entomology class from years past...a certain butterfly known as the Xerces Blue. It is well known in Entomological and Lepidopteran circles as the only known butterfly species to have become extinct due to human activity.

The Xerces Blue gets its name from a pair of 5th century Persian kings, Xerxes I and II. It once inhabited an area of coastal dunes near San Francisco, California. Two theories are proffered as to the cause of extinction...development and subsequent habitat loss and/or the loss of a symbiotically important ant species via the invasion of a non-endemic ant species. The Xerces Blue was last observed in the wild in the early 1940s. Some years later, in 1971, its name gave rise to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. This organization is dedicated to the study and conservation of invertebrate wildlife.

In honor of the Xerces Blue and the work done by the Xerces Society, I offer below some recent insect photographs taken in and around my yard. I am especially fond of the small, iridescent colored Long-Legged Fly. They are the perfect flying insect subjects. they do not fly off when approached, and seem to actually pose for their pictures. My macro lens allows me to really bring to life these colorful, 1/4 inch long insects that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Enjoy...Hug a Bug!

This post is offered as part of an ongoing meme, started by Jenny Matlock, called Alphabe-Thursday. Please visit and check out all the wonderful posts at Alphabe-Thursday.
Jenny Matlock

Prize Giveaway!!
I will celebrate my 1st year blog anniversary next month with a prize giveaway. To see the prizes, you will need to check for my new post, Anniversary Prize Giveaway. You may enter 3 times. First entry will be to check back through my posts and find a favorite photo. Second entry will be to state your favorite post of mine. Third entry will be to write a poem or Haiku. Enter, via your comments either with this post, Saturday Centus or Anniversary Prize Giveaway. Comment entries will be accepted through this Saturday, and I will announce the winner this Sunday, 4th of July. Prizes ...set of 3 carnival wagon piggy banks, turkey salt and pepper set, colorful fabric remnants, and a made to your color specifications hummingbird feeder. I hope these prizes are appealing to you as I wanted to find a nice way to express how much fun I have had blogging with you folks.


  1. the close up pics of the insects are great. would make a great picture canvas for a living room.

    Tina from
    Mummy Diaries
    Gossip Avenue
    Travel Shack
    Game FreakZ

  2. Great information as always Jeff. Love the photos...beautiful insects! Great X post! This one is hard for me!!!

  3. There is no way I can pick one favorite photo. Wonderful take on the letter X by the way!

  4. I loved getting to see the plants at the bugs level. What wonderful photos!

  5. Oh my goodness! this was an x-ceptionally x-cellent X? post! Your photgraphy is x-quisite! HAppy blogaversary to you! I have to write my poem now! Anne

  6. If only I could see the blue butterfly. I don't know if it my browser or something else but I imagine it was an amazing picture! I love all your photos though and I hope your 1 year giveaway is a huge success! Sadly I have well passed the 1 year mark...I think the 2 year mark too!

  7. Great link to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "X"!

    I'm sorry to say I probably won't be hugging a bug anytime soon, but if anything could make me even vaguely compelled to do so it would be these X-cellent photos!

    Happy Blog-aversary, Jeff!

    You have really blessed us with your presence in this meme.

    I always look forward to visiting and I am never, ever disappointed!

    You are really X-ceptional!


  8. That is very interesting about the butterfly that is extinct. Lovely pictures Jeff. It almost seems like you took the pictures standing right next to them. Great camera work.

  9. Great pictures! The pic with the ant and leaf that looked gold, was that the correct color or did you do some photography magic?

  10. Jeff, are these your photographs??? They are awesome! I am soooo impressed! I thought your photo of the coneflowers was terrific, but these are sooo excellent! You are very gifted!

  11. Your photography is amazing I especially love the black and whie one

  12. It's amazing how fast a year goes by. My anniversary will be in September. I had no idea how much work a blog can be, though. I spend hours on this computer. It keeps me sane, though, since my unwilling retirement!

    Incredible insect shots. It's a shame that a
    butterfly would become extinct! I'm not sure I would miss an ant.

  13. While I'm going to pass on your offer to hug-a-bug, I do enjoy seeing your fantastic insect photos! I couldn't begin to choose a favorite, but I have to say I'm partial to the bee with hydrangea? and the cool looking bug pic beneath that one. Congrats on your blogiversay :-)

  14. I always learn something uneXpected here, Jeff.

    I once knew a kid named Xerxes.

  15. I'm so sad about the butterfly :(

  16. I learned a new name for butterfly, and your photos of the insects are fantastic. Some of the colors are wonderful.

  17. Hi Jeff,
    I'm not able to see the Xerces Blue photo but I imagine it is wonderful.
    Your own bug pix are amazing,you feel you could reach out & hug a bug.
    Well, not really but they are great pix!

  18. Wow, what beautiful pictures! Lovely post and take on the letter "X"!

  19. Great post! Beautiful photos! I need a camera like that.

  20. gorgeous pics - love how close you got :D

  21. Hey, Jeff,

    I love being educated and entertained at the same time! Thanks for the Xerces Blue workshop but especially for your stunning photos. It is plain that you did a lot of research for this, so thanks for that, too!


  22. Xcellent, stunning photography as always, Jeff. Very interesting, but sad, info. about the Xerxes Blue butterfly.
    Happy Blogaversary! :)


  23. It isn't fair - I have yet to see a picture you have taken that I don't love. You have such an eye for photography. It amazes how beautiful insects are when you look at them up close.
    Happy Blogoversary!
    Here is my poem -
    My first visit here was months ago,
    I followed a link and was amazed at the show.
    The pictures exquisite,
    the information sublime.
    Tennessee Mudbug will always be a favorite of mine.
    (the rules didn't say the poem had to be good ;o)

  24. No hug a bugs for me Jeff. Awesome photo's though! You made me laugh Jeff over the comment you left on my X post:) I knew you would be coming over that is why I mentioned MEN!!~

  25. Since I came on board recently, I would have to say that the photo of the butterfly on the thistle is exquisite. It is a photographer's dream to be able to capture something like that.

  26. Knowledge is a grand thing...and I relish the aspect of learning...of devouring new details!
    This post was complete :) and a delight to read :)
    Are these images you shot?

    please come visit me at:
    Where I too joined in the X-
    Isn't Ms Jenny's class the most fun?

  27. Totally awesome photos, Jeff. Great post for X!

  28. Gorgeous bug pixs! Excellent post!

  29. my favorite shot is the 5th one with colorful wings and the last shot but they're all nicely shot, quite worthy of being framed

    it's a shame the Xerces Blue butterfly is extinct, I kind of want to see those

  30. & congrats on your 1st blog anniversary!

  31. Your macro shots are great! Wow and wow!