Tim Melling – Duke of Burgundy

Tim writes: Apart from being the sole European representative of a tropical family of butterflies, Duke of Burgundy has another unusual attribute.  Males and females have a different number of legs.  Everyone knows that all insects have six legs, but sometimes they are reduced to become vestigial appendages, hardly visible at all.  This is exactly what has happened to the front pair of legs in male Duke of Burgundy, while the female has a normal front pair of legs.  This is clearly visible in this photograph with the four-legged male on the left, and the six-legged female on the right.

I photographed this mating pair in North Yorkshire

Taken with Nikon D7000 Nikkor 105mm f2.8 set at f10   1/1000   ISO 800


Mark writes: see here for my encounter with Dukes in Sussex earlier this month and here for a review of a superb book about Sussex butterflies with Dukes on its cover.

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2 Replies to “Tim Melling – Duke of Burgundy”

  1. Lovely butterfly, great photograph by Tim. Went with a colleague to see this species in the North York Moors NP on Saturday and whilst we both got good photographs we did not see a mated pair. Not sure how Tim does it but it is not just photographic skill involved.

    1. paul - glad you saw some. yes, Tim's photographs are wonderful but are also built on great fieldcraft and knowledge of the species.


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