Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mating Swallowtails
Location: New Cambria, Missouri
July 25, 2014 3:45 am
I took this photo yesterday of these two different (species?) of Swallowtails mating. Is this common? Can it result in viable offspring or a hybrid butterfly?
P.S. LOVE this website. It has been very informative.
Signature: Denise

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Mating Tiger Swallowtails

Dear Denise,
The Tiger Swallowtails in your image are actually the same species.  The dark individual in the image is the female.  Though most female Tiger Swallowtails are yellow with black stripes, a small percentage of female Tiger Swallowtails are known as dark morphs, and even though the bold tiger striping is not evident, close inspection reveals a black on black striping pattern.  There are also examples of transitional coloration that fall between the light and dark morphs, and even more unusual are hermaphroditic gyandromorphs that contain traits of both sexes and which sometimes exhibit a combination of light male attributes and dark female attributes.  One final note, even without considering black morphs, Tiger Swallowtails are a sexually dimorphic species.  Female Tiger Swallowtails have blue dusting on the hindwings while male Tiger Swallowtails lack the blue coloration.  We are highlighting your posting on our scrolling feature bar. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black Butterfly, blue spots, white stripe Costa Rica
Location: Atenas, Costa Rica
July 24, 2014 8:28 pm
What kind of butterfly is in the attached image taken in Atenas, Costa Rica
Signature: Many thanks!

Starry Cracker:  Hamadryas laodamia

Female Starry Cracker: Hamadryas laodamia

We quickly identified your Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae as a Starry Cracker, Hamadryas laodamia saurites, thanks to the Butterflies of America website, and though there is not much information, we did glean that individuals with white stripes of this sexually dimorphic species are females.  According to the Butterflies of Amazonia site, the common name is the Starry Night Cracker.  The site goes on the explain the common name thus:  “The butterflies are commonly known as Crackers due to the ability of the males of several species to produce a sound similar to the crackling of bacon in a frying pan. The sound is produced as the butterflies take off, and is made by twanging a pair of spiny rods at the tip of the abdomen against bristles on the anal claspers. Only males can produce the sound, but both sexes can detect it – their wings have tiny hollow cells covered in membranes that vibrate in response to sound, and stimulate nerve endings. The purpose of the sound is not known. It may possibly deter competing males from occupying the same territory, or could act as a trigger to initiate the first response from a female during courtship.”  The chatty Butterflies of Amazonia site also states:  “Photographing Hamadryas can be a frustrating experience, as both sexes spend most of their time basking high up on tree trunks, often 10 metres or more above the ground. They sit there for hours  with wings outspread, always facing downwards to keep a watchful eye for potential mates. At times they descend and bask much lower down, at a height of just a couple of metres, but at the slightest disturbance they immediately fly back to the tree top. They remain there until the intruder has left the vicinity, and then descend the tree trunk in a series of short hopping flights, dropping a short distance each time until after half an hour or so they have resumed their original position.”  Other than being dead, the specimen you photographed appears to be in perfect condition, showing no wear on the wings, which causes us to speculate that it fell victim to a blood-sucking predator, like possibly a robber fly.

Thank you so much!!!  Really appreciate how quickly, and how thoroughly you answered my question.
Lucy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Grey hairstreaks puddling
Location: Baltimore Maryland
July 19, 2014 1:33 pm
While out walking in my local park I came across a puddle where some Grey hairstreak male butterflies had gathered and wanted to share the picture with you guys :)
Signature: R.W

Puddling Eastern Tailed Blues

Puddling Eastern Tailed Blues

Dear R.W.,
Your image of puddling Gossamer Winged Butterflies is quite beautiful, however we would like to correct your identification.  We believe these are Eastern Tailed Blues,
Cupido comyntas, not Gray Hairstreaks.  Compare the markings on the images of Eastern Tailed Blues on BugGuide to the images of Gray Hairstreaks on BugGuide, and we believe you will agree with our correction.

I do agree and thank you for the correction, I was going vaguely based on memory of past books I’ve borrowed from the library- I wish you guys the best and have a safe summer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly or Moth? Then what kind?
Location: New York
July 18, 2014 7:30 am
I live in Upstate New York and found this guy fluttering around. I’m sure it’s common but cannot find one with the same ratio of orange on top wings to basically all brown lower wings.
Signature: Thank You, Sarah Burr

Questionmark

Questionmark

Dear Sarah,
This is one of the Anglewing Butterflies in the genus
Polygonia.  We believe it is the Questionmark, Polygonia interrogationis.  These are butterflies that hibernate, and judging from the tattered wings, this is an old individual, perhaps one that originally emerged in Fall 2013 and hibernated through the winter.  It is likely near the end of its life.  Here is a BugGuide image of a lovely younger individual.  The common name Questionmark is due to the presence of a silver marking on the ventral surface of the hindwing which resembles the punctuation mark.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly
Location: Morgantown, wv
July 16, 2014 4:47 am
This butterfly had me awestruck due to its beauty and how it would not leave. My son and I were having a phone conversation over some serious issues and it was like God was speaking thru nature to say he would be faithful as he also provides for this beautiful butterfly. I took May photos with my iPad and I could get very close.
Signature: What’s that bug

Red Spotted Purple

Red Spotted Purple

Your butterfly is a Red Spotted Purple.  Several years ago we proposed that the Red Spotted Purple might be the most beautiful North American butterfly, though your image does not really do it justice.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: butterfly or moth
Location: south eastern CT
July 10, 2014 11:15 am
this photo was taken in July in SE CT. the butterfly or moth is on butterfly weed. Can you identify it?
Signature: curious

Greater Fritillary

Greater Fritillary

Dear curious,
This gorgeous butterfly is a Greater Fritillary in the genus
Speyeria, and as you can see from BugGuide, there are many similar looking species.  We suspect this is most likely a Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele.

thank you so much.  I was looking on a CT insects web site, but there are so many different, but similar pictures, I didn’t know where to start.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination