Well, it could be, if you are so predisposed – or if you don’t like bugs of any sort. When I shared my latest butterfly image on Facebook, a good friend, Cheryl, complimented the photograph but mentioned that this butterfly looked sinister. I titled the piece “Butterfly Victory” because of the v-shape made by the wings. But the little beast does have a sinister-looking face.
Actually, it is the life cycle of a butterfly, such as this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, that may be sinister. These insects are born as tiny worms – caterpillars, really (there is a difference). They spend most of their life eating everything in sight – your flowers, your vegetables, trees, you name it. If it looks like insect salad, it’s gone. When they’ve eaten their fill for a few weeks they take a siesta for a week or so and wrap themselves up in a blanket called a cocoon. Inside, during the siesta all of that food gorging makes the caterpillar begin changing into a chrysalis, of butterfly pupa. Even though Dr. Frankenstein has no part in this, it’s body is changing! When the nap is over and the metamorphism has completed, it’s time for “sleeping beauty” to awaken and crawl out from under the covers. The beautiful butterfly that emerges from the long sleep is a promiscuous sort – it will mate (have butterfly sex), lay eggs and die. All that happens, depending on the particular species in a few days or a few weeks. Most adult butterflies, sadly, live two weeks or less.
Then the cycle repeats. But we, as humans, do get to see the beauty in the adult and in some of the caterpillars…as long as they don’t eat our gardens, that is.
Note: the Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly in the first photograph was found “dining” at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
See more of my photography at Bill Swartwout Photography.