Thursday, September 13, 2012

Butterfly Survey, September 8, 2012

Saturday was cool, less than 70 degrees Farenheit, when we started off on our regular route about 11 AM. Butterflies like temperatures a bit warmer. I had seen a couple Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae) as Tom drove our van up Brukner's lane so I was hopeful that we would see at least a few since the day was warming up. But Tom took more photos of insects other than butterflies as we walked the route.

If you click on the photos, you will see them in a larger format.

A Wheel Bug,(Arilus cristatus), named for the wheel-like protusion on its back. It is a member of the order, Hemiptera, commonly called "True Bugs". It belongs to the family, Reduviidae, or Assassin bugs and Ambush bugs. They kill and eat other insects.

One of the Katydids, (family Tettigoniidae) also called longhorned grasshoppers. One genus makes a "katydid, katydidn't" call.

I'm guessing this is a variety of True bug, but it might belong to a different order entirely. Do you have a guess? Or do you know?

Here's a Cabbage White. And below is an Orange Sulphur. (Colias eurytheme). This is often called the Alfalfa Butterfly because it is common in alfalfa fields.   Tom took the Dorsal (above) view and the Ventral (below) view.  Afterward, Ruth released it.

As you can see in the above photos  butterflies look different from above with their wings spread, and from the side or bottom when their wings are closed. Thanks to Yvonne, I learned about a butterfly I didn't know about which has to be identified from the side or bottom. Here is the Pearl Crescent. (Phyciodes tharos)  which I did know.

She told us there is a similar butterfly called the Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) which is  very similar and most easily identified by looking at the ventral.  She said she had been seeing them in her garden. We didn't find any. Maybe next week.

We did see Silverspotted Skippers. (Epargyreus clarus).

We got a nice long look at a Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) with its wings closed so it was easy to identify. Unfortunately, it flew before Tom was in position to get a unobstructed photo.

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