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

Subject: West Los Angeles sighting – Gulf Fritilary – 1
Location: West Los Angeles
June 20, 2017 1:52 pm
Hi Bugman,
Here’s the next set of pictures. Hope you enjoy them.
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Mating Gulf Fritillaries

Dear Jeff,
It is going to take a chunk of time to correctly edit the posting to contain your awesome images depicting the life cycle of the Gulf Fritillary,
Agraulis vanillae, a common Southern California butterfly.  We have decided to begin the posting with your awesome image of a pair of mating Gulf Fritillaries, a logical place to begin a life cycle, and we will add to the posting as we reformat your images. This has prompted us to initiate a new tag of Buggy Life Cycles to house both this and your previous Anise Swallowtail documentation.

Gulf Fritillary ovipositing on passionvine.

Hatchling Gulf Fritillary caterpillar (right)

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

Pre-Pupal Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

Pre-Pupal Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar with, possibly, a parasitic Wasp (right)

Hi Daniel,
This is the second time you’ve spotted a parasitic wasp in one of my pictures.  Is there anything I can, or should, do about this?  I understand the wasp has as much right to exist as the butterflies, but I can’t help feeling protective over the caterpillars.
Thx, Jeff

Gulf Fritillary Chrysalis

Sorry Jeff,
We can’t think of a way for you to protect the early stages of butterflies from parasitoids unless you raise the caterpillars in a container with a fine mesh screen.

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Our editorial staff will be on holiday for a few weeks, so we are post-dating submissions to go live during our absence.  We hope you enjoy this gorgeous series of images of the life cycle of the Anise Swallowtail

Subject: West Los Angeles sighting – Anise Swallow Tail #1
Location: West Los Angeles
June 1, 2017 12:19 pm
Hi Daniel,
Here’s the first of my sets of pictures you asked me to trickle in. Since I can attach only 3 images, I’m going to send in 4 sets for the swallow tail. If this is too much, please let me know.
Hope you enjoy these.
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail Eggs

Thanks Jeff,
We will put together a nice life cycle posting with the images you have sent.  We will distill them down to the best images and we will postdate your submission so it goes live during our absence mid month.  We feel we have to provide you with a challenge though.  Your spectacular life cycle images are lacking critical two stages.  We hope someday you can capture the actual emergence of the adult from the chrysalis, and of course, we always love to post images of mating insects to our Bug Love page.

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar: Early Instar

Newly hatched Anise Swallowtails somewhat resemble bird droppings which may help to camouflage them from predators.

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

As they grow and molt, later instars of the Anise Swallowtail Caterillar take on the characteristic green color with black and yellow spots.

Anise Swallowtail with Osmetrium

When threatened, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar reveals its osmetrium, a forked orange organ that releases a foul smell to deter predators.

Prepupal Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

As pupation time nears, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar spins a silken girdle to help keep it from hanging down.

Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis with Chalcid Wasp

This Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis is being visited by a parasitoid Chalcid Wasp.  Here is a posting from BugGuide that shows a close-up of the Chalcid Wasp.  Butterfly Fun Facts has an excellent description of this Parasitoid, including:  “A healthy chrysalis will have light membranes between its abdominal segments. As wasps grow inside the chrysalis, the membranes turn dark.  Infected chrysalises turn darker and often have a reddish tinge to them.  Remember! When a chrysalis is first infected (eggs laid in the chrysalis) it will appear healthy, have the correct colors and shades, and will move normal. Once the wasp larvae have grown for a few days, the color of the chrysalis will darken.  A chrysalis that has a mature butterfly inside it will also turn dark the day before the butterfly emerges. If a butterfly is inside, you will see the wing pads the day before the butterfly emerges. If it darkens and wing pads cannot be seen, it is a danger sign.”  Unfortunately, a percentage of Swallowtail Chrysalides will never produce an adult if they are preyed upon by parasitoid Chalcid Wasps.

Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis

The Anise Swallowtail Chrysalis darkens just before an adult is ready to emerge.

Anise Swallowtail

This is a gorgeous, adult Anise Swallowtail.

Anise Swallowtail

Ovipositing Anise Swallowtail

And the cycle begins anew as a female Anise Swallowtail deposits her eggs on the host plant.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: butterfly ID
Location: San Diego County
April 27, 2017 9:00 am
Hi Daniel,
I thought these 2 would be a cakewalk when I shot them. So distinctive. But alas, my insect knowledge is zero. Both photoed in San Diego county CA.
I can’t seem to fit geographic to species. To my untrained eye below looks like a Coyote Cloudywing – but apparently not in Southwestern CA.
(about half the size of a Monarch)
Signature: Gerald Friesen

Funereal Duskywing

Hi Gerald,
Thanks for resending your requests using our standard submission form.  It really does make posting submissions to our site much easier.  We believe this large Skipper is a Funereal Duskywing,
Erynnis funeralis, and according to Jeffrey Glassberg’s book Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, the habitat is “A wide variety, including desert, woodland edges, and spruce forest, but preference is for hot, dry situations.”  Here is an image from BugGuide.  We would not entirely rule out another member of the genus, however, Glassberg also writes “the F[ore]W[ing] is largely black with a pale brown patch beyond the cell.  The FW white spots are weakly expressed.”  The accompanying image in the book closely resembles your individual.

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
Hello!!
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

Duskywing

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