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

Subject: Monarchs 2016
Location: Columbus, Ohio
June 26, 2016 10:00 am
Hey all at What’s That Bug!! I just had my first Monarch Butterfly sighting of the year. Inspite of my hubby’s comment of “I can’t believe we’re growing weeds in the garden”, my milkweeds are blooming this year, and I just saw my first monarch taking a drink. They seem to be a bit more “flighty” (forgive the pun) than the other butterflies we get, so I’m afraid these aren’t my best pics, but I wanted to let you all know that the Monarchs are in Ohio!
Signature: Amber

Monarch nectaring on Milkweed

Monarch nectaring on Milkweed

Dear Amber,
Thanks so much for providing us documentation of your successful propagation of milkweed and the subsequent attraction of your first Monarch butterfly.  Milkweed is the food plant for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly, and the flowers are a rich source of nectar for many butterflies, making milkweed an excellent addition to any butterfly garden.  We just returned from a trip to Youngstown, Ohio, on the Pennsylvania border, and we were struck at the dearth of milkweed on roadsides.  Many years ago, milkweed was quite common, but as farming techniques became more efficient, and as more open space was cleared to rear crops, milkweed populations have diminished, leading to decreased populations of Monarch butterflies as well.  Your individual is a male, as evidenced by the black spots on the hind wings.  See the Arizona State University Ask a Biologist page for a visual difference between male and female Monarch.  Hopefully, female Monarchs will also visit your milkweed and lay eggs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red admiral proboscis
Location: Troy, VA
June 24, 2016 10:25 am
I know that the red admiral is not a rare butterfly, but I thought I would submit this picture because you can see his proboscis fairly clearly and really, his antennae are lovely.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

Red Admiral Puddling

Red Admiral Puddling

Dear Grace,
Rarity is not a criterion for posting to our site.  Actually, if the truth be made known, the Red Admiral is one of our favorite butterflies.  Perhaps it is because they and Mourning Cloaks are so long lived that they seem to have so much more personality than other butterflies.  Famed author and amateur lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov playfully referred to the Red Admiral as the Red Admirable.  Your individual appears to be puddling, taking moisture and also important minerals, from the mud.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this butterfly species?
Location: Stanford University
May 3, 2016 7:12 pm
Snapped this photo of a newly hatched butterfly today, May 3. This was taken in Palo alto, ca. Any ideas? I didn’t want to disturb it to get its wings to open.
Signature: Audrey

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Dear Audrey,
We opened your email about two hours ago, and we have been mentally writing our response to you while taking advantage of the waning daylight outside to pick peaches to make a cobbler.  This is a Mourning Cloak Butterfly, a species that hibernates in the winter and lays its eggs early in the spring so that caterpillars can take advantage of tender leaves from elms and willows which we verified on BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae eat primarily willow (
Salix spp.) but also other trees and shrubs including Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Trembling Aspen (P. tremuloides), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).”  In our experience in California the caterpillars also feed on Chinese Elm which has tiny leaves.  Mourning Cloak butterflies will even fly about on winter days when it is warm and sunny, and since it has such an extensive range, in cold climates, it is occasionally seen when there is still snow on the ground.  According to BugGuide:  “First-generation adults emerge in early summer, and estivate until fall, when they re-emerge.”  Because it has two adult dormant periods, hibernation in the winter and extivation in the summer when it is dry, the Mourning Cloak is a very long lived butterfly, relatively.  We don’t believe many butterfly live in the imago or adult stage more than a year, meaning the adult Mourning Cloak that emerges from hibernation dies shortly after laying eggs.  Those old Mourning Cloaks generally have rather ragged looking wings.  Adult Mourning Cloaks rarely feed on nectar.  Mourning Cloaks do feed on plant sap which generally runs in the spring, and ripe, rotting and fermenting fruit which is frequently abundant in the summer.  We hope you got a good look at the opened wings of your freshly eclosed individual, which is the proper term for hatching from the chrysalis, leaving behind the exuvia or cast off exoskeleton which is visible in your image.  Mourning Cloaks often rest with spread wings, the dark, velvety surfaces soaking up the warmth.  Your Mourning Cloak is in the family Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies.  Butterflies in the family Nymphalidae have vestigial front legs that are useless for walking, so they appear to have only four legs as the brush legs are held close to the body.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: a butterfly in Turkey
Location: Bolu, Turkey
May 1, 2016 7:51 am
Hi there! I hope you can help me identifying this butterfly I saw in the garden of a school. I was in Bolu, Turkey and it was just a couple of days ago , a warm april day. At first I thought it’s ‘Sultan’ (Danaus chrysippus) but i’m not an expert so i’m not sure.
Signature: Şevval Seçkin

Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies

Dear Şevval,
Though your image does not have very high resolution, and the two butterflies are quite far away, we are certain they are Painted Ladies,
Vanessa cardui, a cosmopolitan species that is known for mass migrations.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly
Location: Jefferson County, Colorado
April 26, 2016 7:04 am
Hi,
On 26/April/2016 we were within the boundaries of Chatfield State Park, Jefferson County, Colorado and observed a brown butterfly with white edged wings several times in at least three locations in the Park. It was seldom still and we managed only one somewhat decent image of the butterfly (attached). We observed it from about 1:00 to 3:00 pm in grassy areas as well as near a stream. Unfortunately we did not get a clear image of it with its wings opened. Any help with identification would be appreciated. Location: Latitude: 39°32’45.92″N / Longitude: 105° 5’5.21″W
Signature: Ronal Kerbo

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Dear Ronal,
Judging by the bedraggled appearance of its wings, this Mourning Cloak has just awakened from a long winter’s nap.  Mourning Cloaks, along with several other species of butterflies in the Brush-Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae, hibernate, often in hollow trees and other sheltered nooks and crannies. They can sometimes be seen flying about on sunny days while there is still snow on the ground.  The female will lay her eggs on the budding leaves of willow, elm and a few other species of trees, and the caterpillars will grow quickly while feeding on the new leaves.  There is still a hint of beauty visible on your individuals wings.  The ventral surface of the wings, which is visible when the butterfly rests with its wings folded over its back, are mottled in color to help the Mourning Cloak blend in with bark and leaves, but the dorsal surface on a newly eclosed individual are a velvety warm black in color.  There is a scalloped cream colored edge on all the wings and a row of brilliant blue spots traverses the  length of the wings as well.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the prompt reply with the identification of our butterfly. We were quite surprised to see your message so soon after sending along our inquiry. As it turns out I now know we had photographed a “Mourning Cloak” within the Butterfly Pavilion set up on the grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield here in the Denver Colorado metro area. I should have done more research on my on and not bothered you and others at the whatsthatbug web site. We very much appreciate your response and it is good to know we have now photographed a Mourning Cloak in the wild.
Thanks again,
ronal

It was no trouble at all Ronal.  We love posting images of Mourning Cloaks.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Some bug love
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
April 1, 2016 7:51 pm
Thought you might get a kick out of a very odd pairing discovered where I work. A male common Morpho (Morpho peleides) mating with a female atlas moth (Attacus atlas). Photographed at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona. I know it’s April Fools day but the pictures are not “photo shopped”. (For some reason the Commodors song “She’s a Brick House” keeps running through my head). Of course they are not genetically compatible but it’s fun to imagine what offspring would look like……
Signature: Butterfly wrangler

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Morpho mating with Atlas Moth!!!

Dear Butterfly Wrangler,
We cannot imagine what would have spawned this Unnatural Selection.  Though it is not photoshopped, can you also state there was no human intervention involved?  Forgive us for being suspicious, but we are frequently targeted with pranks and hoaxes.

Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection

Lepidopterist Julian Donahue comments
Spring is in the air!

Interoffice Communication
Hey Max, I sent a couple of photos of the moth/Morpho pairing to “what’s that bug?” Web site . Their response is below.
If this wasn’t an elaborate April Fools joke would you like to respond to the email below to assure them the pairing was not manipulated?  (If this was a joke it was a good one!) If you would rather be anonymous and not email them I’ll understand. If you don’t mind answering them, I think you mentioned seeing a different pair of inter-species breeding on the same Palm. They may be interested in what those species were as well.
Let me know. 😊
Paula Swanson
Assistant Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

A second substantiation
Dear Daniel,
There was no manipulation in the Atlas-Morpho mating. It is actually the second time I have seen this. See attached photo from May 2015( which also has a second morpho trying to squeeze in). The only thing I did, was after the photos were taken I used my tweezers to gently move the wings to see if the genitals were actually in union, which they were. I have another photo of an Atlas mating with a Mormon, but I can’t find it. I will look for it when I get to work later.
Sincerely,
Max B. Shure
Butterfly Curator
Butterfly Wonderland

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Documentation of another Morpho Butterfly and Atlas Moth pairing

Thanks so much for the follow-up Max.  This is so fascinating.  We wonder if perhaps there is some similarity in the pheromones released by the two species.  Since they occur naturally on different continents, they would not normally interact with one another, but captivity in the Butterfly Wonderland has brought together two species that would never naturally interact with one another.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination