This is the female Gatekeeper.
But that picture won’t do. With her wings closed she looks just like a male Gatekeeper. For the last two weeks I have been trying to get those open wing shots. Yesterday I came this close.
I have snuck up on her. This is the same Butterfly as the first picture. She is comfortable with my presence. The sun is shining and any moment now she is going to open her wings and bask in the warm rays. I am perfectly positioned for the shot that I want and she doesn’t mind. Nothing can go wrong and then…
You stupid, stupid Butterfly! She doesn’t want your attention. (That is a male pestering my female)
Clear off! We are trying to do a photo shoot here!
That will not do for an open wing shot.
I was so close. Sometimes Butterflies can be really frustrating.
I got the shots today.
I will just show you the male first.
The dark “smutty” marks on his fore wings are called “sex brands” they are specialised scales on the wing that emit a scent to attract the females. The female obviously doesn’t have them.
Female Gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonus