In 10 summers of field studies, I documented male mate-searching behaviors in 5 species of butterflies that span a range familiar among vertebrates: … vagrant encounter, site-fidelity, running a trapline, defending a territory, and “hanging out” at a literal singles’ bar. The different behaviors produce varied patterns of disappearance from the local population. In recent years, I have explored vision, flight, and details of behavior to propose simple cues and rules of interaction sufficient to produce the complex behaviors. So this study spans scales of biological organization from sensory physiology, through behavior, to population ecology. And it provides examples of how outright observational natural history interacts with conceptual biology.