Travel bloggers and butterfly enthusiasts Paulmathi Vinod and Vinod Sadasivan were at Dhanushkodi Beach in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state for some bird-watching on Feb. 14. It hadn’t occurred to them that it was Valentine’s Day, but the couple was in for a gift from nature: the spectacular sight of thousands of butterflies in flight. And, in a serendipitous fit with the Valentine’s theme, these butterflies had bright red bodies and striking red markings on their black wings.
These were crimson rose butterflies (Pachliopta hector), here to feed on the flowering plants in the coastal region. Then they rose up, in their thousands, and began flying toward the sea.