- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, gets queries about two-headed butterflies.
A two-headed butterfly? A wonderful and surprising find of a new species? And suitable for publication in ZooKeys, that "peer-reviewed, open-access, rapidly disseminated journal launched to accelerate research and free information exchange in taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography and evolution of animals?"
And a discovery guaranteed to bring fame and fortune, or at least worldwide headlines?
No, not a two-headed butterfly. Just a male and a female butterfly keeping busy.
This week we spotted a two-headed butterfly on a blanketflower, Gaillardia, in a Vacaville pollinator garden. The butterflies? Gulf Fritillaries. They're also known as "the passion butterflies," as their host plant is the passionflower vine, Passiflora.
Ah, the warmth of the sun, the autumn colors, a slight breeze, and two butterflies forming a two-headed butterfly.
Life doesn't get any better than that if you're a couple of butterflies seeking to create progeny--or a photographer engaging in "insect wedding photography."
The bride and groom didn't notice the camera. They were too busy keeping busy.