The Regal Fritillary is threatened over much of its range. It is found in prairies and grasslands in the central U.S. And it is a regal looking butterfly. It is large with boldly marked above and below. The big silver white spots on the underside of the dark chocolate colored hindwings is especially beautiful.

I felt very fortunate to find several Regal Fritillaries at the Nachusa Grasslands in northern Illinois. Unfortunately they were in egg-laying mode which meant that they rarely landed on a flower to nectar. They would constantly be on the wing searching for their ground-hugging host plant, the Bird’s-foot Violet on which to lay eggs. So I gave up on photographing one on a flower and instead switched to “wing shooting” mode. I had to manually focus since the autofocus could not lock on to such a small subject, so I prefocused at a certain distance and when the butterfly came in range I just started blasting, hoping to get an acceptably sharp photo. After hundreds of attempts I got a few keepers including this one. It is not a perfect specimen with many wing tears and chunks missing but it is a fair representation of  rare species.

Canon 7D, 400mm f5.6 lens, handheld, ISO 800, f5.6 at 1/2000 second

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