Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"
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Subject: Insect I.D.
Location: Southern Utah
March 31, 2015 12:38 pm
Cocoon found under lid of unused garbage can…..I carefully protected and waited to see what came out. Cocoon was gray/black and I expected a moth with little color. What a surprise! Appears to be big Swallowtail Moth, 4-5 inches tip to tip. I can’t find anything exactly like it searching the Web.
I don’t know if this critter is kind of rare down here – Ivins, Utah.
Signature: Kent P.

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Hi Kent,
This Two Tailed Swallowtail,
Papilio multicaudatus, is a butterfly, not a moth.  According to the Utah Bug Club:  “Two Tailed Swallowtail butterflies are large and gorgeous and can occasioanlly be found patrolling neighborhoods that have ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) growing along the street. These same ash trees serve as the larval host plant for this butterfly. Adults appear on the wing from mid-May through July with a few fresh adults appearing for a small second flight in September. Although finding adults of the Two-Tailed Swallowtail is somewhat inconsistent in our cities, males can usually be found with much more regularity cruising our canyons and ravines in May and June. Caterpillars can be found on choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) from June through August in the mountains.”  BugGuide provides this information:  “Trivia: This is probably the largest species of Butterfly in North America, with spread specimens sometimes pushing 6 inches in wingspan. However, the Giant Swallowtail – Papilio cresphontes (which definitely averages smaller) is consistently listed as the largest species, and indeed some females of that species can reach very large proportions as well. Occasionally nearly as large is also the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus. So, on an average, everyday basis, P. multicaudatus is largest, but as for the largest specimen recorded, it is probably an open contest.”  By all accounts, this is a early sighting.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Mourning Cloak, Harbinger of Spring
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
March 29, 2015 8:50 AM
For the past few sunny days, we have observed Mourning Cloaks flying in the yard.  Just yesterday we watched two battling for territory.  This morning we were lucky to have a camera handy while walking into Elyria Canyon Park in Mount Washington.  We watched this freshly eclosed beauty soaking in the sun, but it flew as we approached.  We only got so close as it perched on the Wild Cucumber climbing a fence, but it soon alighted again on a nearby endangered California Black Walnut.  We knew this individual was probably a young specimen because those that hibernate through the winter often have tattered wings.

Mourning Cloak with Wild Cucumber

Mourning Cloak with Wild Cucumber

Mourning Cloak on California Black Walnut

Mourning Cloak on California Black Walnut

Erica Russo, Robin Powell, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Alfonso Moreno, Timothy Steele, Christy Harris, Carol Love, Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch, Alisha Bragg, Kathy Haines liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: iridescent blue bug
Location: Asheboro, NC
March 25, 2015 1:26 pm
I took this picture outside my house. Was wondering if you could tell me what kind of bug this is. I’ve never seen one like it before. It has an iridescent blue body and wings similar to a butterfly. The wings can fold up on its back like a butterfly.
Signature: Amanda

Freshly Eclosed Great Purple Hairstreak

Freshly Eclosed Great Purple Hairstreak

Dear Amanda,
These are marvelous images of a newly eclosed Great Purple Hairstreak, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.
  Unless there was some injury involoved, or a genetic aberration, the wings on your individual should have continued to expand and harden enabling this lovely butterfly to fly.

Jennifer MacAulay, Norman Gems, Carol Love, Kathy Haines, Frank Fleming, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Kristi E. Lambert, Rachel Carpenter liked this post
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Subject: Butterfly Identification
Location: Costa Rica cloud forest, elevation approx. 5500 feet.
March 15, 2015 7:30 pm
Any thoughts on what butterfly this might be? At first, I thought it was a Heliconius pachinus but the pinkish markings on the wings don’t seem to be consistent with that species.
Signature: Jackie C.

Ruby Spotted Swallowtail

Cattleheart Swallowtail

Dear Jackie,
This is actually one of the Swallowtail Butterflies, probably a Ruby Spotted Swallowtail,
Papilio anchisiades.  According to Keith Wolfe who often responds to caterpillar identification queries we receive:  “This abundant and widespread swallowtail is commonly found in areas disturbed by human activities.”  We are surmising that your sighting might be associated with an eco-tourism trip.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the identification help.   I’ve been coming across all kinds of new creatures since moving from the US to Costa Rica and some are quite challenging to identify!   Thanks for doing what you do… and love your website!
Have a great rest of the day!
Jackie

Correction:  Thanks to Richard Stickney of LifeandScience.org for providing us with the correct identification of this Cattleheart Swallowtail in the genus Parides.

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Subject: Furry Western Tiger Swallowtail
Location: Red Car Property, Silver Lake (Los Angeles)
March 9, 2015 12:28 am
Hi Daniel,
As you may have heard, we’re having a butterfly bonanza in Silver Lake this year. Today’s question is more about function than ID. Why do the Western Tiger Swallowtails have so much fur? It would seem not so aerodynamic . Photo attached was taken on the Red Car Property March 5, 2015. It was supper furry, as was the one I the week before in my backyard:
http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/2015/02/corralitas-drive-western-tiger.html
Both seemed to be sunning themselves in the morning sun on very warm days on broad leafed, non-native plants (wild geranium & nasturtium).
Signature: Diane E

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Good Morning Diane,
The physical feature of “fur” on butterflies is not confined to Swallowtails, but since Swallowtails are so large, it is more easily noticed.  Alas, we don’t know why this trait has developed, nor do we know what purpose it serves.  We will post your image and hope one of our readers is able to enlighten us.

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Subject: Migrating Painted Ladies
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Though we have received many images recently from our readers, we made a decision to select our Bug of the Month for March 2015 from our own images because of the significant seasonal migration of Painted Ladies this year.  According to Julian Donahue, the Painted Ladies are: “particularly active on the wing now, and most appear to be migrating, pausing to nectar on their way farther north.” The Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, is a medium sized orange butterfly with a mottled wing pattern and distinctive “eye spots” on the underwings. Painted Ladies were seen taking nectar from the pictured Mule Fat or Baccharis salicifolia, Coastal Bush Sunflower and Manroot. Caterpillars feed on both native and non-native leaves, and the Arroyo Lupine, that is currently blooming, is one native host plant.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination