Ursine Giant-Skipper
Megathymus ursus
The Ursine Giant-Skipper (Megathymus ursus) is a rare and local butterfly of the American southwest. One of the main field characters for the identification of this species from other giant-skippers are the white antenna. In June, 1999, I was with some friends in the high Davis Mountains of far west Texas in Jeff Davis County. Were were at 7500 feet elevation on the slopes of Pine Peak which is within the Davis Mountains Preserve of the Texas Nature Conservancy. We were looking for a rare bird which we had seen just earlier when some friends called my attention to this giant-skipper and asked me to photograph it. I took a number of slides of this giant-skipper with a Canon EOS 1N and an EF 300mm F/4 L IS lens and 1.4X extender on Fuji 100 slide film.
Shortly after taking these photos, the friends I was with identified it as an Ursine Giant-Skipper, which at that time meant nothing to me. Anyway, there are apparently very few images of this species ever taken in the wild, so these shots are certainly the rarest butterfly shots I've ever taken and are probably the first butterfly shots I ever took as well. So goes the world of nature photography!