The 8-legged butterflies of Nara, Japan

10 years ago, I was lucky enough to go to Japan for a conference. The conference itself was held in Nara, a very old city whose historical monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There I visited Todai-Ji, a temple housing the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. The large wooden temple also housed a number of other statues and decorations, including these giant butterflies perched on enormous vases. (I don’t remember exactly how big they were, and my photos are unhelpful in terms of offering things for scale, but you can sort of make out some people heads in the lower left corner of the first photo.)

I was particularly intrigued to notice that the butterflies all had 8 legs, rather than the usual 6.

I found that I was quite charmed by them.

I’m just rather sorry that my point-and-shoot camera didn’t do as well with the trick low-light conditions as my current camera does. I will just have to go back to get new photos some day.

This week’s friday foto finder theme was “butterfly.” I have posted on butterflies many times before (including a ThThTh list as well as some of my own photos), but somehow had not yet managed to post these curiosities. To see what other butterflies have been collected, pay a visit to the fff blog.

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3 butterflies

Here are 3 butterflies I’ve encountered in the last 3 years.¹

Butterfly in the butterfly garden at the Boston Museum of Science, Boston, MA. June, 2010.

Butterfly on a window, in The Butterfly Pavilion outside Denver, CO. April, 2011.

In the wild on the grounds of the De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA. August, 2012.

¹ I don’t come across butterflies in the wild nearly as often as YTSL of Webs of Significance, whose photos of her hikes around Hong Kong regularly include butterflies (among her other critter sightings).²
² I looked back at my photos from the hike we had together when I visited Hong Kong in August of 2011, but it would seem that I found no butterflies that day!