Torn Wings and Worn T’ings

Don’t worry I am not getting into selfies but this is a theme. This post relates to the last selfie post and the theme is “imperfection.”

I will just shut Miss Funny Bones up.

Funny BonesThat should do the trick.

When I put that last post up about the Butterfly with the bad wing I realised that… well, we have been hiding the truth from you.

There are a lot of damaged Butterflies in the wild. Animals that have been the target of attacks and have escaped but also all of that fluttering around Bramble bushes and Thistles causes wing damage too, they are sharp and spiky plants.

Comma Butterfly

I don’t generally photograph damaged animals. In fact I have just spent about an hour looking through my old photographs for pictures to use in this post and I could hardly find any. It is not just me. If you go on any of the well known Butterfly web sites you won’t see any damaged animals.

We have been trying to protect you from the truth. The truth is that nature is a brutal place where a lot of killing and eating of each other goes on but are you ready for that?

The other thing is that of course we all admire the perfect form and would rather not know about the imperfect ones.

I have decided that I am not going to protect you any more.

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Nature is imperfect and from now on I will feature damaged Butterflies on this blog.

That is not because I can’t find perfect animals to photograph. Flick back through my previous posts, I am perfectly capable of photographing beautiful animals. It is because I am a naturalist and I want to show how it really is and not some idealisedย fantasy of nature. I am a bit ashamed that I have so few pictures of imperfect animals in my back catalogue.

Green-veined White

Green-veined WhiteButterflies don’t need such large wings to fly and they can take a lot of damage and still be flying perfectly well.

If you look at the Dragonfly for example, they are superb masters of the air.

Black-tailed SkimmerThey can move all four wings independently. They can fly backwards, they can even fly backwards with two wings and forwards with the other two and hold their position in the air.

Butterflies by contrast are clumsy and unimaginative fliers. They have hooks on their wings that enable them to Velcro the front and back wing together so that in flight they effectively only have two large wings to flutter about with.

A Butterfly’s wings are not just for flying. They make the Butterfly seem much larger than it really is and this can deter predators from attacking. They also sometimes have quite scary faces painted on them.

Peacock ButterflyIf they can’t scare a predator off then the next line of defence is to divert the attack away from the body. Birds will go for the eyes and the big eye spots are a long way away from the important little body of this Butterfly. Wings are supposed to get torn it is a survival mechanism.

So from now on we will have imperfect animals on the blog and at some point you will find yourself wondering that a particular animal can still fly with all that damage ๐Ÿ™‚ That is how it is.

We will still have to feature perfect animals too. Especially at this time of year when brand spanking new Butterflies are emerging from their chrysalis’s. ย They are also reality and they are very lovely.

Small TortoiseshellI am deeply sorry that I didn’t spend more time with you, little Speckled Wood but you had a minor imperfection.

Speckled WoodFrom now on it will be different.


14 thoughts on “Torn Wings and Worn T’ings”

  1. I think damaged specimens show a history, they share something with us. I love the beauty of perfect specimens as well, don’t get me wrong, but I agree with you, damaged specimens should have room on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Life takes it toll on every thing/one. I don’t like it when it happens to animals, birds, insects, etc. It just makes me sad. They aren’t like us. They deserve to be happy and freeโ€ฆthey don’t bother anyone and just live their lives. They are always beautiful to me but I really hate when things happen to them.


  3. Thank you for this. I end up with pictures of the perfect and imperfect since I don’t spot damage until I look at the still photos. It is a good lesson to see how resilient they are. Like dogs, little time for self pity, living large.


  4. Thanks for sharing this post. Although I love perfection, I also can see the beauty in imperfection. Nature, like people, have many battle scars. We can’t stay baby fresh forever! I’m so glad you decided to unfold the truth! Happy Trails!


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