45 Macrophotography / Microphotography Images of Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) | Source

The macrophotographic image of the moth above shows many different flecks of color. If you have ever handled a butterfly or moth, you will have noticed these tiny flecks of color come off onto your hands. It's amazing to see them this close and to know that is the color we are seeing when we look at a butterfly.

Look at the spots on the hindwings. They look like a small leaf has been drawn on them.


Since some of the discussion on this topic may also include parts of the butterfly, I have included this picture (below) to help clarify terms.

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Male Promethea Silkmoth - Click to see larger image.
Male Promethea Silkmoth - Click to see larger image. | Source
Click to see larger image.
Click to see larger image. | Source

Close-Up Photography, Microphotography, or Macrophotography

Many people think that close-up photography, microphotography and macrophotography are the same. And in fact microphotography and macrophotography are typically considered to be the same thing. Close-up photography is very similar. Close-up photography is actually the act of taking pictures at a very close range, where the object being photographed fills the screen. So in a way, macrophotography could also be considered to be close-up photography as well. It is for these reasons that these terms are often confused and often interchanged with one another.

Through the use of a special macro lens, macrophotography allows the photographer to capture details that are not normally visible with the naked eye. These details would include things like the hair on an insect's body or the pattern of an insect's eye. It is these details that make the images viewed using macrophotography so interesting. It is here that we begin our journey through the macrophotography of butterflies, moths and caterpillars.



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Macrophotography of a Butterly Head

The detail that has been captured in the images below is truly amazing. This picture reveals things about a butterfly that I might have never known. In one small area of a butterfly (which is already small) there are so many different kinds of fur and hair. It is incredible. But the most surprising thing is - the butterfly has hair on its eyeball! The striping on the curled proboscis is also very interesting.

Close-up of Butterfly
Close-up of Butterfly | Source
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The butterfly above does not have hair on its eyeball. The fur also appears to be a different texture than the photo above it. The details of the fur is phenomenal in both pictures.



In the images below, notice the fur, the antenna, the leg joints, and the colors. Click on thumbnails to view image, and then click on the image to view a larger image if desired.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
In this image, notice the wavy antenna, the curled proboscis, and the vibrant colors.The fur on this butterfly is visible on this photo of a butterfly that looks like a plane preparing for take-off.A gorgeous image of a moth wing.The underside of a butterfly wing is not as vibrantly colored as the top side.The eyes of this butterfly are quite striking.
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In this image, notice the wavy antenna, the curled proboscis, and the vibrant colors.
In this image, notice the wavy antenna, the curled proboscis, and the vibrant colors. | Source
The fur on this butterfly is visible on this photo of a butterfly that looks like a plane preparing for take-off.
The fur on this butterfly is visible on this photo of a butterfly that looks like a plane preparing for take-off. | Source
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A gorgeous image of a moth wing.
A gorgeous image of a moth wing. | Source
The underside of a butterfly wing is not as vibrantly colored as the top side.
The underside of a butterfly wing is not as vibrantly colored as the top side. | Source
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The eyes of this butterfly are quite striking.
The eyes of this butterfly are quite striking. | Source


Enjoy the images of butterfly and moth heads and wing parts below. Be sure and look carefully at the eyes, the antenna and the scales on the wings.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notice the pollen on the proboscis and the legs.
Notice the pollen on the proboscis and the legs.
Notice the pollen on the proboscis and the legs. | Source
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Yes, the skipper (pictured below) is a butterfly. Notice how clearly you can see the stripes on the antenna, the fur on the body, the veining in the wings, and the hair at the joint of the legs.

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A moth has a feathered antenna like the one pictured above. Notice how the fur on the wings appears to be different than the fur on the body.



Click on thumbnails to view image, and then click on images indicated to view an even larger image. As you view these images, look at the different types of feet, horns, eyes, and hairs on these caterpillars.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Monarch Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image.Caterpillar on GeraniumCaterpillarClick on image to view larger image.Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image.Click on image to view larger image.Click on image to view larger image.Getting ready to make a change. - Click on image to view larger image.
Monarch Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image.
Monarch Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image. | Source
Caterpillar on Geranium
Caterpillar on Geranium | Source
Caterpillar
Caterpillar | Source
Click on image to view larger image.
Click on image to view larger image. | Source
Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image.
Caterpillar - Click on image to view larger image. | Source
Click on image to view larger image.
Click on image to view larger image. | Source
Click on image to view larger image.
Click on image to view larger image. | Source
Getting ready to make a change. - Click on image to view larger image.
Getting ready to make a change. - Click on image to view larger image. | Source
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Click thumbnail to view full-size
This macrophotographic image shows the small hairs on the antenna. Notice also the different types of hair on the legs.
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This macrophotographic image shows the small hairs on the antenna. Notice also the different types of hair on the legs.
This macrophotographic image shows the small hairs on the antenna. Notice also the different types of hair on the legs. | Source
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mullein moth caterpillar (Cucillia verbasci) feeding on Figwort (Scrophlaria sp?)
mullein moth caterpillar (Cucillia verbasci) feeding on Figwort (Scrophlaria sp?) | Source


No butterfly discussion would be complete without a picture or two of the butterfly that travels long distances through the lifetimes of several generations - the Monarch Butterfly.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Look at the eye and the delicate hair on the palps. The antenna almost appear to be covered with scales.
Look at the eye and the delicate hair on the palps. The antenna almost appear to be covered with scales.
Look at the eye and the delicate hair on the palps. The antenna almost appear to be covered with scales. | Source
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The following five videos will take you through the complete life cycle of the monarch butterfly from the mating, to the hatching out of the eggs, through the stages of a caterpillars life, through metamorphosis and finally to becoming a butterfly.

To see the video of the mating process, click here. You will be taken to youtube to watch the video there. It would not allow me to embed it here for your convenience.

You can then, click the video below to watch the egg hatching.



To watch the next video of the caterpillar's change through 5 instar stages, click here. The youtube video that is featured here would not let me imbed it into this hub, so I created the link for you.

Click to see larger view.
Click to see larger view. | Source

Through the macrophotography of butterflies, moths and caterpillars, we have journeyed into the world where one learns to crawl before learning to fly- a world where the worm transforms into a beautiful butterfly or moth. Macrophotography brings the intricate world of the butterflyand moth to us providing us a glimpse into a world unseen so we may appreciate the delicate beauty of the butterfly and moth all the more.

I hope you have enjoyed this journey through the macrophotography of the butterfly, moth and caterpillar and will join me again:


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Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch


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Comments" "Macrophotography / Microphotography of Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars; 45 Macrophotographic Images" 48 comments

5 years ago

Voted up. Impressive, and colorful (almost like tattoos), but for me still a bit too spidery ...

All God's creatures, of course.

Blessings.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

Interesting and beautiful. The moth is one of my favorite of insects. Though my favorite is the bumblebee. Wait until you see a hummingbird Moth.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

davenmidtown - I may have. i may actually have photos of them on a thumbdrive somewhere. Are the wings clear?

Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.


5 years ago

PS: Great hub, mind. Butterflies look great, 'normal size', but when you get really close they are clearly insects! lol Many a tattooist have gotten inspiration from their colors, of course. Blessings.


Indigital 5 years ago

What a peculiarly pretty Hub. The colours on some of them butterflies are stunning. Glad to be doing this challenge with someone who has so much niche expertise.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Indigital - I am pleased that you enjoyed this hub. I have enjoyed the making of these macrophotography hubs, but they can be quite time consuming.

Thanks for stopping by and glad to be sharing this challenge (challenging) journey with you. 30 in 30 here we come!


vasantha T k 5 years ago

interesting hub. Minute details of the parts of insects captured . Voted up. Beautiful Best wishes.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

vasantha T k- I'm pleased that you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for stopping by. Best wishes to you also.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi homsteadbound

I love butterflies.

Thank you for giving me a close up look through macrophotography. Beautiful!

Voted up, up and away!

Have a good weekend


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Hi, Sueswan! I really love butterflies too.

I am pleased you enjoyed the journey thru macrophotography.

Thanks for the votes and thanks for stopping by!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Hmm.. Butterflies are still just ugly bugs with beautiful wings arent they? ;)

I kid...beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as many ardent bug-lovers find themselves repeating!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

stephaniedas, LOL! I would have to say that there are uglier bugs than butterflies, but they are still bugs.

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and not just for bugs! LOL

Thanks for stopping by and sharing smiles!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

What a great collection of photographs of these lovely specimens! This kind of hub is right up my alley! Thanks for sharing.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

HSB: I have the Peterson's first guide to butterflies and its helpful. The Kaufman field guide to North American Butterflies is really good as is the stokes butterfly book that you have listed here.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

oceansnsunsets - I am tickled that you enjoyed the images. I certainly enjoyed collecting them.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Hello, davenmidtown! I have a couple of those myself. But you who are more interested in insects would be a good resource for letting others know what would be a good choice. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

Thanks for stopping by.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

Even more important... as entomologist/naturalist I study insects through photography in stead of collecting them. This means that I must rely on guides to help identify specimens.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

davenmidtown - I too have started various insect collections by photographing them. I have misplaced the images, but I will find them.

Thanks for stopping by!


Beth Pipe profile image

Beth Pipe 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

Stunning photographs - you seem to know such a lot about so many wonderful things! Wonderful hub!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I loved this one and the images amazing.

Congratulations on a brilliant hub and here's to so many more to share on here.

Take care and I wish you a wonderful day.

Eddy.


fidencio1 profile image

fidencio1 5 years ago from Louisiana

Still amazed at how you can shoot these beauties so close without them flying off.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Beth - I agree with you - the photographers did a great job on these pictures. Thanks for the compliment.

Thanks for stopping by!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Eddy, thank you so much! I hope to make it over to visit some of your hubs this weekend. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

fidencio1 - thank you so much, but as you know from another, I just have to hunt them down. I am pleased that this series is providing you with enjoyment.

Thanks for stopping by!


carol3san profile image

carol3san 5 years ago from Hollywood Florida

Hi there. You've been writing a lot about these Macrophotographic Images. Very interesting. voted up.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

carolsan - yes. I like to have several hubs of similar topics so that I can tie them together. And these hubs have been well received.

Thanks for stopping by!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

When seen this close up, the details on moths, caterpillars and butterflies are simply gorgeous! Thanks for assembling this beautiful hub and voting it that and also useful.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Peggy W - I agree. They really are gorgeous, plus amazing, fascinating, beautiful, etc. I could go on with lots of modifiers. I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

Thanks for stopping by!


5 years ago

I guess perspective makes all the difference: under glass in a museum, against magnified many times, when you can see all the remarkable details.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

f - yes, we can see so much more when the view is magnified. Sometimes we can see more good, and sometimes more bad. And the view of being good or bad can vary from the opinion of one person to another.

Thanks for visiting!


4 years ago

Reminds me of the Bible verse which says about a lily, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f- God provides all of our needs. And then he even blesses us with the marvels of His small creations, such as these.


4 years ago

Exactly. David could say he was 'fearfully and wonderfully made'; we have a glorious Creator.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f - very true. Thanks!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

Amazing, amazing, amazing work!! Im going to share this to my Facebook so I can remember to show it to my oldest daughter tomorrow. She will LOVE the images because she is all science-y.

I didn't know NE Ohio had giant silkmoths until this past summer. I found one of those monsters on my porch - he was bigger than my hand. I took about a hundred pictures of him :)


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

Hello, Ardie! You will have to have her look at several of these macro hubs them. They are quite amazing. I had to just finally tell myself to quit looking for pictures. I think it would have gone on forever.

How cool to see a silkmoth like you did. I would have taken at least a hundred pictures myself if I had found myself in that situation.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope your daughter enjoys the journey!


4 years ago

You know, I keep looking at the top photo and it still reminds me of a colorful sleeve tattoo!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f - I'm not sure what a sleeve tattoo is.


4 years ago

It's one that you have done on your arm. Like, with the upper arm only, it's called a half-sleeve; the whole arm, it's a full-sleeve.

The butterfly's colors keep reminding me of colorful (tattoos, that's all. Some designs look really nice.)


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f - I understand now. Thanks!


4 years ago

YW. So you like the butterfly colors. So do you like colorful tattoos, eg, sleeves, too?


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f - I really have very little experience with tattoos, one way or the other. I haven't thought about it that much!


4 years ago

Well, okay. You mentioned a possible tattoo plan that you had, on one of lyricwriter's hubs, that you had talked to dh about. But I guess you must know just how much you liked the idea. Blessings.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

f - yes, but not worth arguing over. So I dismissed the idea, and it would have been a very small one in an inconspicuous place.


4 years ago

Sounds like you had some nice ideas about it, anyway. You're right, not worth arguments. If you check out designs in a parlor (in a non committal way; and tattooists don't do a hard sell; it's unprofessional) you might see a design that dh 'eventually eventually' doesn't dislike. Not worth discord, but no need to close your mind to it, right? because it sounds like you do at least like the idea for one eventually; (colorful butterfly? faith-related?) you must know.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Wow! Awesome photos! This is a fascinating hub but the butterflies take on a somewhat sinister look when photographed this way.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

Gail - They do look kind of scary sometimes - even almost alien. But i think it is neat to see how they look this close up. And they are so benign. Thanks for the votes and thanks for stopping by. Here is hoping that you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

alocin - I am glad that you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for stopping by, commenting and voting.

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