There is an old life saying telling us to “Stop and smell the roses along the way”. I created this intimate view of a little Green Comma Butterfly resting on the trunk of a Western Larch tree to help communicate a synonymous message. It seemed fitting to do so using an insect because it should remind us of the diversity of living things that we imagine when we speak of “wildlife”. It is the Green Comma`s mottled greenish brown and comma-shaped marking on its under wing for which these little guys are named. They have the ability to stand out or blend in simply by the way they hold their wings while at rest. A slight change in its wing presentation and you would be hard pressed to see this butterfly against a background of tree bark.
Butterflies haphazardly dance up and down with the air currents as they bob along in search of food or mates or when they are simply patrolling their territory. This flitting and seemingly erratic behaviour seldom creates chances to appreciate their intricate and complex bodies or to really appreciate the diversity of species that might exist in any given ecosystem. Butterfly wings are arranged in “cells” and they are similar to a bird’s wing in structural complexity. These little insects’ wings are, however, thinner and translucent which allows light to pass through them giving them an illuminated look about them.
The tree bark it sits on has an amazingly complex surface as well. Almost geological looking, the bark of the tree’s trunk is layered like a sedimentary rock formation and splits apart as if forced open by the shifting of the Earth’s crust. In this case, the furrowed surface of the tree’s protective outer layer is created by hundreds of years of outwardly expanding tree growth. The habitat of this tree trunk is so complex it will contain many hidden wildlife species beyond the obvious butterfly that is just making a brief stopover.