Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"

Subject:  Red Spotted Purple
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/07/2021
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has frequently stated that the Red Spotted Purple is one of the most beautiful North American butterflies, though this tattered individual will most likely not elicit many votes from anyone who has never seen a perfect example of this lovely butterfly.  Though the image isn’t much to look at, Daniel wanted the documentation, and then the next day when he had no camera, he was lucky enough to observe an individual with more intense color and lacking wing damage because it had not been traumatized so much during its short life.

Very tattered Red Spotted Purple

 

Subject:  Ichneumon
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/06/2021
Time: 5:58 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
The Swallowtails visiting Daniel’s Ohio garden have been spectacular this year, but they were pretty spectacular last year as well.

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Within a half an hour of one another one evening, Daniel spotted this male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on the butterfly bush Daniel planted last summer, and then a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (she has blue scales on her underwings and he does not) nectaring from the large thistles Daniel is allowing to grow.  The Eastern Goldfinches are having a field day eating their seeds.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A week later, Daniel dug from his friend Hector’s wild garden, some Joe Pye Weed, Ironweed and Teasel, all attractive to pollinating insects, and the very next day, on August 12, this very tattered female black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoyed the Joe Pye Weed for about a half an hour.  As though she knew she was safe, she allowed Daniel to get quite close and as he got a really good look at the state of her wings, he couldn’t help but to wonder “How ever can she fly?”

Black Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

 

Subject:  Ichneumon
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/07/2021
Time: 10:56 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has still not had a chance to post all the great insects he has been photographing in Ohio. This Spicebush Swallowtail was quite elusive and would not let Daniel get close.

Spicebush Swallowtail

 

Subject:  Emerging Anise Butterfly In Trouble
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 08/12/2021
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
I’m honored and humbled by your awarding me the Bug Humanitarian Award. And will endeavor to live up to it.
This morning, an Anise Swallowtail emerged from his chrysalis.  It seemed to me unusual that the chrysalis was formed on the fennel plant on which he hatched and fed, so I’ve kept an eye on him.
This was fortunate as the fennel plant has so many crisscrossing branches that there was not enough room for his wings to hang down and stretch out.
So I gently moved him to a better location and his wings did seem to hang properly. I hope it isn’t too late.
By the way, I’ve called this butterfly him because of his small size. The females I’ve seen ovipositing were much larger. Is this assumption correct?
Thanks,
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail

Hi again Jeff,
In our experience with Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, the female is generally larger, and it is entirely possible the same is true for other Swallowtails.

Subject:  Tiger Swallowtail, Black Tiger Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 07/30/2021
Time: 3:30 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has been enjoying seeing butterflies of his youth growing up east of Youngstown on the Pennsylvania border.  Daniel’s mother Pearl’s garden has gotten greatly overgrown, but some of that growth consists of native flowering plants, though Daniel has vowed to dig up some Joe Pye Weed and Ironweed to add to the native meadow plants that have begun to proliferate.  The first Swallowtail Daniel was able to photograph was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on PHlox

Daniel’s friend Sharon arrived on Monday and on Tuesday a trip to Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, Ohio included a sighting of a black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Zinnia in Mill Creek Park

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in Daniel’s garden in Ohio are much more wary that the unusual black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail who allowed Daniel to get many camera angles.

Black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

And just this morning, a female Black Swallowtail visited the large thistle that Daniel has allowed to grow in the meadow garden because so many insects are attracted to it.  Daniel has also seen Goldfinches taking seeds from thistle heads.

female Black Swallowtail

 

Subject:  Monarch Emerges from Chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/09/2021
Time: 8:51 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Last week Daniel informed you that while hiking in Elyria Canyon Park as post-operative knee therapy, he found a Monarch Chrysalis and Caterpillar on native Aesclepias eriocarpa.  Every day or two Daniel had been hiking back to check out the progress and yesterday the chrysalis appeared noticeably darker.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 10

Then this morning at 7:45 AM, the much awaited moment of translucence and the pattern of the wings showing through the exoskeleton.  Daniel sat on the bench to text the images to a few folk and then he laid down in the shade and listened to the birds, and an hour later, he realized that though he had missed the actual eclosion, he was still able to experience the mystery of metamorphosis and to view the helplessness of the newly transformed adult Monarch whose wings had not yet hardened and it was not yet able to fly.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 11

Despite missing the actual eclosion, Daniel was still witness to the hatchling testing out its strange new proboscis and auxiliary mouthparts.

Eclosion one hour later

Daniel writes:  “This new imago, though helpless, was adapting to its new vision thanks to the transformation of the visual sensation through complex compound eyes.  For about a half an hour I watched the adult Monarch feeling the breeze and testing the use of its new muscles in preparation for its maiden flight.  When I got close to take an image it was obvious the creature sensed me and potential threat because it appeared to quiver and to cower.  Not wanting my presence to interfere in the success of the transformation, I left thinking I might check up on it later in the afternoon, and to collect the remains of the exuvia.  I did note that there were no blossoms on the milkweeds in the patch.  All the blossoms seem to have withered and I pondered how much more successful a first flight would be after a first meal of milkweed nectar.  As I started my hike this morning, on my way into the canyon I watched an adult Monarch taking nectar from the blossoms of a patch of geraniums, but I reacted too slowly to get an image with the magicphone.”

Close-up of newly eclosed Monarch