Taken at the Thames Butterfly House on the Coromandel Peninsula. They are quite challenging to photograph as they’re constantly on the move.
The butterfly is Heliconius melpomene, also called the postman. There are numerous colour variations in this butterfly so sometimes it can be very confusing. It is a well-known and common butterfly raised by the thousands for live displays. One thing I must mention regarding the photo, which many people will miss: on its curled-up proboscis a layer of pollen can be seen. This group of butterflies is about the only butterfly that can utilise pollen – most butterflies can’t. They collect the pollen on their proboscis, exude some digestive juices onto the pollen and when the pollen is liquified, they suck it up again. In human terms, yuck!