The Flight of a Butterfly
Butterflies are one of nature’s engineering marvels. At first, the ratio of their wings to body seems to make flight an impossibility.
But fly they do and they do so by clapping!
In the up-stroke, the wings are held in a cupped shape and clapped together. Air trapped in the cup rushes backward when the wings strike and the butterfly is launched forward. The down-stroke simply keeps the butterfly afloat.
This is a Dark Evening Brown (Melanitis phedima), a reclusive butterfly that is most active at dusk. It prefers shady areas below bushes and dry leaf litter, where the dusky mottled coloration of the underside of its wings provides camouflage. Often ventures into stairwells and car porches in urban areas to rest at night. Flight is quite slow and helter-skelter, especially if disturbed early morning. This is one lucky shot!