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A Vanishing Species: Portraits of a Butterfly

Several weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity to participate in a butterfly count at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge for the federally endangered Lange’s metalmark butterfly. Late summer at the Antioch Dunes marks the Lange’s flight period, when the adult butterflies emerge from their chrysalis as imagoes (the mature butterfly) and begin their short-lived adult lives. Under the guidance of refuge biologists and a handful of volunteers, we walked line transects across the scarred dunes, dunes that historically towered 120 feet above sea level before the sands were quarried to make bricks. Today, the dunes and the butterflies are both growing scarce. In 1999, the peak butterfly count numbered 2,342 in a single day; last year, the 2012 peak count numbered 32 individual butterflies. This year, in what may very well have been 2013’s peak count, we counted 28. Our glimpses of this rare butterfly may have been fleeting, but fortunately for this photographer, they froze in place long enough to capture a portrait of this vanishing species.

Enter the Gallery


Sarah Anne Photography – San Francisco and East Bay Area Portrait and Nature Photography

Clayton/Concord/Walnut Creek/Lafayette

Child, Newborn, Family, Senior Portraits, and Maternity

Native East Bay Area Flora/Fauna

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