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

Subject: Mourning Cloak
Location: Echo Park near Elysian Park
April 17, 2017 6:28 pm
Hi there!
I found this emerging about 4″ in front of my front door just under the eve of the house. Is it a Mourning cloak? I can’t believe it was hanging out there in the open above my head where I pass through several times a day.
Thank you!
Signature: CLK

Freshly Eclosed Mourning Cloak

Dear CLK,
Even in climates much harsher than Los Angeles, the Mourning Cloak has a reputation for being a butterfly that flies on sunny days in the winter, even when there is snow on the ground.  Mourning Cloaks that mature in the spring, like your individual, will frequently hibernate during the heat of the summer, and the snow, cold and rain of the winter.  They emerge early in the spring when the leaves of preferred trees like willow and elm are just beginning to sprout.  Though many individuals that have overwintered are quite tattered, they are still able to reproduce before dying.  Eggs are laid and caterpillars grow quickly on the spring growth.  Your individual probably hatched from an egg laid earlier this year.
We just witnessed an interesting event in our own, nearby Mount Washington garden.  Tiger Swallowtails have been flying about, with the males patrolling the garden in search of mates and defending territory.  We recently planted several native willows to attract Mourning Cloaks.  Male butterflies will defend territory against different species as well as against members of their own species.  We watched a male Mourning Cloak attempting to chase a much larger Tiger Swallowtail from our garden.  It was quite amusing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hopefully you can help me!
Location: Copperas Cove, TX
April 8, 2017 10:11 pm
While on a walk today I came across something interesting. I’ve never seen one before and am really wondering what it is. I thought a moth of some kind but was not sure. Any help is appreciated!!
Signature: D.H.

Newly Eclosed Great Purple Hairstreak

Dear D.H.,
This is not a Moth.  It is a newly eclosed Butterfly, the Great Purple Hairstreak,
Atlides halesus.  When Butterflies and Moths emerge from the Pupa, their wings are not yet fully expanded, and your individual has recently emerged from the pupal stage, known as the Chrysalis, and its wings have not yet fully expanded.  Until the wings expand, it will not be able to fly.  According to BugGuide, it is:  “Iridescent bluish green to purple on the thorax and basal half of the wings. Ventrally all of the wings have a crimson spot near the base; ventral forewing otherwise plain brown (female) or brown with patch of blue (male); ventral hind wing with three rows of greenish spots near the apex. Males have a large scent patch on the upper side of the front wing.”  The Great Purple Hairstreak is a beautiful butterfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Persius or Wild Indigo Duskywing
Location: Occoquan NWR, VA
April 6, 2017 9:24 am
I photographed this Butterfly yesterday, and think it is either a Persius Duskywing or Wild Indigo Duskywing, (neither of which seem to be on your website). I would be most grateful for your opinion. Thanks!
Signature: Seth


Dear Seth,
Thanks so much for submitting your image of a Duskywing Skipper in the genus
Erynnis.  Currently we have two species from the genus on our site, both from California.  We do not feel confident taking an identification to the species level with any surety.   Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a more definitive response.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Really would love positive identification, it means a lot to know of this visitor.
Location: Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
March 16, 2017 9:57 pm
Dear Mr Bugman,
Should you find the time for this identification request, it would be quite a delight indeed. Thank-you for your consideration and guidance.
Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Is it a butterfly? Is it a moth? It was very much an intended visitor.
Please help me to determine what such beauty found me.
Signature: TannaT

Compton Tortoiseshell

Dear TannaT,
Too bad you were unable to get an image of this pretty little Compton Tortoiseshell,
Nymphalis l-album, with its wings open.  The upper surface of the wings is much more brightly colored, which causes the butterfly to be somewhat flashy while flying, but when it alights, especially among dried fallen leaves on the ground, it blends in perfectly because of its camouflage coloration.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Was this sighting recent?  According to BugGuide:  “adults fly from July to November before hibernating, and appear again in May and June to lay eggs.”  If this sighting was just made, and you are having unseasonably warm weather, it is possible this hibernating individual emerged early.

Dear Daniel,
Thank-you mega much for your guidance and timely response.
This sighting was indeed just yesterday, March 16, 2017 at approximately 12:34 pm.
The air is still quite cool with snow on the ground and yet to come in the forecast.
How grateful I am to have been a witness to such a rare delight.
I know it was a sign from above to see her. Perhaps my story is quite alike hers.
I was previously told by a numerologist that March 16 would be the “unexpected beginning
of a change of fate that will certainly be the most beautiful of your life”.
She was a big part of my melting heart.
Thank-you again and again for your help.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Courting Butterflies
Location: Coryell County, Texas
March 9, 2017 3:39 pm
Hello again! These two butterflies stayed near the autumn sage (Salvia greggi) for about thirty minutes. I think they are more of the Giant Swallowtails, quite worn. She (I think) was trying to nectar, and he (I think) was in dogged pursuit. She would fly up to the sky, fly low, fly all around, couldn’t shake him, or was it a courtship dance? I don’t know. Eventually she flew off without him while he was patrolling nearby, and he flew all around the house for a time, perhaps looking for her? I only saw him nectar once.
Cloudy, humid, and warm 65 degrees, with a light breeze
Thank you and best wishes!
Signature: Ellen

Courting Giant Swallowtails

Dear Ellen,
We agree that these are courting Giant Swallowtails, and your submission has perfect timing.  We saw a our first Giant Swallowtail of the season nectaring on the lantana growing on the curb of our neighbor’s yard today, but we were running late for work and we did not have an opportunity to snap an image.  Your action images are gorgeous.

Courting Giant Swallowtails

Thank you so much! Best wishes to you both. 😊

Courting Giant Swallowtails

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ecuadorian beauty
Location: 3 hrs NW of Quito, Ecuador
February 2, 2017 12:21 pm
Hi Guys,
I read your site daily though I haven’t contributed for some time. This very small butterfly was photographed in Ecuador last month. I would love to know what it is.
Thank you,
Signature: Dwaine


Dear Dwaine,
We tried to determine the identity of this delicately pretty butterfly for some time, to no avail, however we strongly suspect it may be a Satyr in the subfamily Satyrinae because of the prominent eyespots visible on its wings.  Though BugGuide only has images of North American species, you can see the similarities.  Satyrs are often brown or muted in color, though the subfamily also includes the brilliantly colored Morphos that also have eyespots, but on the undersides of the wings.  Most images of Satyrs online depict the butterflies at rest with wings folded and the undersides visible, which might be contributing to the difficulty we are having identifying your Ecuadorian beauty.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hello Daniel and Dwaine:
There are also quite a few neotropical metalmark butterflies (Riodinidae) that have prominent eyespots, usually on the forewings. This one looks a lot like a Lasus Metalmark (Perophthalma lasus). However, that species has a documented range that only goes as far south as Panama. The only species within this genus that is reported from Ecuador is the Tullius Metalmark (Perophthalma tullius), also quite similar. Regards, Karl  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination