What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you identify this butterfly?
Location: North Alabama
August 29, 2013 10:11 pm
My seven-year-old daughter found this butterfly near our North Alabama home in early August. We’ve tried to identify it without success. We wish we had a picture of the wings folded, but the picture of open wings shows a lot of detail. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Curious Mom & Daughter

Decapitated Red Spotted Purple

Decapitated Red Spotted Purple

Dear Curious Mom & Daughter,
This beautiful butterfly is a Red Spotted Purple, and that is a very easy identification for our staff, but we are really curious about its missing head.  What decapitated the Red Spotted Purple and why? is what we are wondering.  When we identify decapitated Longicorn heads, we can hypothesize that some predator ate the nutritious body and left the head, but we can’t come up with a reason why a predator would eat only the head of the butterfly and leave the rest of the body.  Perhaps one of our readers can help solve this mystery.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Alabama

One Response to What Decapitated the Red Spotted Purple???

  1. Joel Stave says:

    One notion that occurs to me is that the predator was interrupted (perhaps by the girl who found it) after it ate the head, but before it could finish eating the rest of the body. Do predators/scavenger typically eat the head first?

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