Thursday, June 18, 2015

Learning About Wild Indigo Duskywings...May and June, 2015.




Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)  Wingspan 1.3 - 1.7 inches (3.3 - 4.3 cm)

It helps that we usually have lots of pairs of eyes looking for butterflies.  We never know who will be looking in the right place at the right moment.  If it had not been for Jackie, we might not have seen this butterfly.

Brukner Nature Center's Butterfly Transit group is fortunate, too,  to have many photographers among its members.  One of the best ways to identify butterflies is by photograph.  We don't have to capture the butterflies which can be difficult and we don't traumatize the the butterflies.

This is a little butterfly that I would never have attempted to identify before becoming a member of this group.  I am still not confident I could ID it if I were by myself.  There are many little brownish butterflies.  By looking in field guides, it is possible to compare the tiny differences among the various similar butterflies.

I also found several good sources of information on the Internet.  One is

www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species

From this source I learned that Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) , and Persious Duskywing(Erynnis persius)  are similar to the Indigo Dusky Wing.

I checked in Butterflies of Ohio, Field Guide, by Jaret C. Daniels and learned that neither the Columbine or the Persious is found in this part of Ohio.  So there is identification by process of elimination.

But each one of the brownish butterflies have identifying characteristics if the searcher knows what to look for.  As the name indicates, the larva of this butterfly likes Wild Indigo and a wide variety of plants in the bean family.  Another host is Crown Vetch which is often planted along highways.  Because of the Crown Vetch the Indigo Dusky Wing is doing well and expanding its territory.

In May we found a tiny larva on a Wild Indigo planted along the side of the Brukner Interpretive Center.  It is well camouflaged by being green.  Notice its black head.




In June, we found a larger larva on the same plant.





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