Have you ever seen a butterfly with coloring on its wing that looks like an eye and wondered why the butterfly looked like that? I have. The obvious answer is that is it a defense mechanism, intended to make potential predators question whether it is really a butterfly they are seeing or something larger that may want to make the predator the prey. This is a large part of the function of the eyespot, but it is also believed to play a role in courtship as well. If you want to know more, you can read all about the evolutionary significance of eyespots in butterflies here. Anyway, the photo of this butterfly was taken at the Mexico City Zoo.
The secret to any good animal photo, whether it’s a bird, giraffe, monkey, or dog, is making sure that the eyes are in focus and properly exposed. Since animals usually move around however they want and don’t necessarily pose for the camera, that can be a problem. But, as Rick Sammon says, if the eyes aren’t in focus and properly exposed, you’ve missed the shot. And let me tell you, I’ve missed the shot plenty of times. But it’s our failures that make us appreciate our successes, right? Personally, I also prefer animal photos where the animal’s eyes are focused on something away from the camera. The photo of this big cat was taken at Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City.