Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Butterflies

Over the past month or two I've been trying to get some photos of butterflies for a post, and let me tell you it is not easy to get a good, close photo of these guys. If you get anywhere near them they generally fly away leaving a frustrated blogger. However, I've had some luck and here we are.

Sleepy Duskywing, Erynnis brizo
First off is the Sleepy Duskywing, Erynnis brizo. This is a Spring butterfly that flies from April to July, but mostly in May. This species and the Dreamy Duskywing, E. icelus, are very similar, but upon consulting some others it was agreed this was a Sleepy Duskywing. This individual was found in Vinton County. Duskywings belong to the family Hesperiidae, better known as the skippers. Skippers are known for their fast, darting flight.

Juvenal's Duskywing, Erynnis juvenalis
Next is another duskywing. This one is Juvenal's Duskywing, Erynnis juvenalis. This is another Spring butterfly that has only one brood here in Ohio. They are closely associated with oak woods as oak trees are what the caterpillars feed on. This one was found in Vinton County also, in Raccoon Ecological Management Area.

Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela
Next we have a Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela. As the name suggests, you can find these in the woods (and shrubby areas) throughout Ohio from May to July or August. Notice the eyespots on the wings. Most people think butterflies have these eyespots to scare off predators, but that is not always the case. The exact reasoning behind eyespots in butterflies is not known, but it is most likely more than simple mimicry to scare off predators. Eyespots may be used in sexual selection, like the eyes on a peacock's tail, or may be byproducts of other evolutionary adaptations. Eyespots might also be helpful in drawing a predator's attention away from the body of the butterfly, which a butterfly would obviously want to protect a little bit better than a tip of the wings.

Falcate Orangetip, Anthocharis midea
And finally we have the Falcate Orangetip, Anthocharis midea. This butterfly is found in the eastern US, including the southern half of Ohio. The Falcate Orangetip is yet another Spring butterfly, flying from April to May. In fact, this individual is feeding on a Spring Beauty, an early Spring wildflower. Interestingly, the caterpillars of this species are actually cannibalistic and may eat smaller individuals nearby.

female Falcate Orangetip
This is a female Falcate Orangetip. Notice the two black dots; both the male and female have these. However, the male has those two orange tips on its wings as shown in the previous photo.

I hope to be able to get more butterfly photos throughout the summer. I would love to do a swallowtail post, so hopefully I'll be lucky enough to get photos. As of right now, there are about four more posts I am currently working on, so stay tuned for some insects, spiders, more flowers, and a turtle!

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