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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Whilst researching Arctiids that might be found in Alaska, we stumbled upon A Guide to Nabokov’s Butterflies and Moths by Dieter E. Zimmer, our new favorite web site.  Though he was born in tsarist Russia, Vladimir Nabokov, most notoriously famous for penning the novel Lolita, probably had the best command of the English language of any native English speaking writer we can think of, on any side of the pond.  An amateur lepidopterist, Nabokov frequently made references to butterflies and moths in his work, and this site has an awesome catalog of all the members of the order Lepidoptera that appeared in his work.  The lovely Red Admiral Butterfly was playfully called the Red Admirable by Nabokov, and he also notes that in tsarist Russia, it was known as the Butterfly of Doom because large numbers of them were on wing the year Tsar Alexander II was assassinated.  We decided we finally needed a Nabokov category since we mention him so often.

Red Admiral from our archives

Red Admirable from our archives

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterflies
Location: Eastern Tennessee
April 3, 2014 11:39 am
HI,
These beauties were in abundance on April 2nd in the Martha Sundquist State Forest, and I would love to know what they are.
Thank you for your time,
Signature: R.G. Marion

Puddling Lycaean Blues

Puddling Lycaean Blues

Dear R.G. Marion,
The best we can do at this moment is to provide a subfamily.  These are Lycaean Blues in the subfamily Polyommatinae, and according to BugGuide they might be considered as a tribe.
  There are many similar looking species and subspecies classified as Blues.  The Lycaean Blues were among author Vladimir Nabokov’s favorite butterflies, and he wrote about clouds of Blues gathering at puddles in the spring, exactly what your image documents.

Thank you so much for your timely reply; it is most appreciated.
R.G.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Puerto Rican Butterfly
Location: Puerto Rico
April 3, 2014 6:07 pm
Hi Bugman,
I’ve been following your website for years and greatly enjoy it, so I’m excited to finally be able to send in an identification request. A few weeks ago I took a trip to Puerto Rico with fellow biologists and artists, and we came across this butterfly. I’m not sure which rainforest it was in, but the forest was about an hour away from the town of Manati and had several caves (we found a Puerto Rican boa!). I wish I could have taken a picture with its wings open, but I did not want to disturb it.
The photo was captured with the Canon 100mm f/2.8.
Thank you!
Signature: Casey

Malachite

Malachite

Hi Casey,
We are glad to learn that you have been enjoying what What’s That Bug? has to offer to the world.  This beautiful green butterfly is a Malachite,
Siproeta stelenes, and the Puerto Rico Wildlife website confirms is presence in Puerto Rico.  According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, the range of the Malachite is:  “Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida and South Texas. A rare stray into Kansas. Comments: The southern Florida populations have become established since the 1960s; presumably having emigrated from Cuba.”  Despite being naturalized in North America, we haven’t ever received an image of this lovely species, and your wonderful image is the first.  We have seen many decorative butterfly collections that include the Malachite, so we suspect it is a species that is common on butterfly farms.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Papilio glaucus
Location: Nathaniel Boone Forest State Park
March 19, 2014 11:01 am
These pics of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were taken along a trail in the Nathaniel Boone Forest State Park outside of Camden TN. It was late June I believe when I took the pic. They were feeding on dung or rotting fruit.
Signature: swampyy82

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails Puddling

Hi again Swampyy82,
Thanks for sending us this gorgeous image of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails congregating at a moisture spot, an activity that is commonly called mud-puddling or just puddling.  More information can be found in an Ecological Entomology article written in 1991 by Carol L. Boggs and Lee Ann Jackson called Mud puddling by butterflies is not a simple matter.  They wrote:  “Adult Lepidoptera of many families feed from puddles, carrion and excreta (Norris, 1936; Downes, 1973; Adler, 1982).  Such behavior is termed ‘puddling’, and may involve aggregations of individuals feeding at a location which is used repeatedly.  the participants are usually male and often young (e.g. Collenette, 1934; Adler, 1982; Adler & Pearson, 1982). … Sodium, which may be an otherwise scarce nutrient in the adult diet, triggers puddling behavior, at least in “
Papilio (Arms et al., 1974).”

Tiger Swallowtails Puddling

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails Puddling

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large black and red butterfly
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
February 28, 2014 3:53 am
Dear WhatsThatBug.com,
I have just found this butterfly in the stairwell of my apartment building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
It couldn’t find it’s way out and me and my teacher were worried that someone else would kill it. So I got a bowl and some paper and set it free outside. It flew all around the building for a while before we lost track of it.
I have seen this butterfly a few times and I’m just interested in it. Hopefully you can give me an answer.
Thank you
:)
Signature: Chloe (age 14)

Swallowtail

Common Rose Swallowtail

Hi Chloe,
When someone sends us an email that indicates unusual kindness to an insect or other bug, we like to tag that posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award, and your identification request is one of those postings.
  According to The Flying Kiwi Cambodian bug page:  “This is a common rose, a type of swallowtail butterfly.   They earn their name from their wide distribution, all the way from Afghanistan to China, and from belonging to the genus Atrophaneura, the red-bodied swallowtails.   In this case, the red body indicates to birds and other predators that the butterfly is toxic and distasteful to eat.”  Because this species is poisonous, other species have evolved to mimic it, and the Confessions of a Lepidopterist site states:  “The red spots on these butterflies [Common Mormons] were actually made to mimic another species of butterfly alltogether. The Crimson Rose butterfly (another one of my favourites) that is poisonous and therefore unedible to birds and other predators. The Common Mormon female (carrying the eggs and thus, the lifeline of the butterfly species) has evolved to mimic the wings of Crimson Rose butterflies thus avoiding being eaten. To the trained eye, however, these two butterflies can be distinguished quite simply. The Crimson Rose, as its name suggests come from the family of red-bodied swallowtails that is to say their bodies are colored a brilliant red, advertising the poison that actualy runs in their blood.”  According to TrekNature:  “The Common Rose (Atrophaneura (Pachliopta) aristolochiae) is a swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Pachliopta subgenus, the Roses, of the genus Atrophaneura or Red-bodied Swallowtails. It is a common butterfly which is extensively distributed across South and South East Asia.”    

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly Survivors
Location: Coryell County, Texas
February 18, 2014 4:38 pm
I’m sending photos of what I think are a Variegated Fritillary and an Alfalfa Sulphur, each with damaged wings. I’m also sending a photo of The Usual Suspect.
Signature: Ellen

Sulphur with damaged wings

Sulphur with damaged wings

Hi Ellen,
Just last night we were reading the beginning of a small publication put out by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County called Butterfly Gardening in Southern California.  The first article is entitled Butterflies in Living Color and in it Brian V. Brown writes:  “The intricate patterns [of butterfly wings] have often evolved through their interactions with another group of animals with good color vision, the birds, which are the most relentless natural enemies of butterflies.”
  We also learned a new term.  Holometabola is a term used to classify insects with complete or four part metamorphosis with the stages being egg, larva, pupa and imago.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination