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

Subject:  Spreading Wings on a Warm Spring Day
Geographic location of the bug:  Mulholland Gate, California
Date: 04/24/2021
Time: 10:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Dear Bugman,
While hiking in the Santa Monica mountains, I spotted this winged beauty. April 24, 2021
I also spotted two other winged creatures on flowers, there were several in the area and strangely didn’t seem to be alive.
How you want your letter signed :  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Chalcedon Checkerspot

Dear Melanie,
We immediately recognized your lovely butterfly as one of the Checker-Spots and turning to Charles Hogue’s
Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, we identified your individual as a Chalcedon Checker-Spot, Euphydryas chaldecona, and Hogue specifies:  “Though rarely seen in the basin’s flatlands, this species may be quite abundant in the surrounding foothills, visiting flowers in the spring and early summer” and later of the preferred caterpillar food plants “locally they are particularly fond of Sticky Monkey Flower (Diplacus longiflorus), a common native shrub of the coastal sage plant community.”  It is pictured on Butterflies and Moths of North America and on BugGuide and well as here on BugGuide where it it is recognized as a subspecies, Euphydryas chalcedona chalcedona, and where it states on the BugGuide info page that the range is:  “Primarily relatively near the Pacific Coast, west of desert areas, in areas of broken terrain, from northern British Columbia to northern Baja California Norte. Inland in mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington, across northern Idaho and just into extreme western Montana. Also inland in desert mountains across the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of southern California and Nevada into southern Arizona and perhaps northwestern Sonora.”  It may have appeared “not alive” because it was seen earlier in the day and it had not yet warmed enough so that it might fly.  We cannot conclusinvely identify your images of the Solitary Bee and Wasp.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mourning Cloak not yet awake in the morning
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/15/2021
Time: 06:55 AM PDT
Daniel had to leave early this morning for an MRI and he noticed a dark shape near the curb under a wisteria that is dropping dried blossoms.  Closer inspection revealed a Mourning Cloak that spent the night on the ground and because the sun hadn’t yet hit it, it was still quite lethargic.  Daniel has been seeing Mourning Cloaks flying for several weeks now.

Mourning Cloak

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly ID please
Geographic location of the bug:  Iguazu Fall, Nissiones province, Argentina
Date: 04/14/2021
Time: 10:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could you ID this butterfly please. Photo taken on Feb.28. 2020 at Iguazu Falls, Argentina
How you want your letter signed:  Vlad Morozov

Small Eyed Sailor

Dear Vlad,
This pretty little butterfly is
Dynamine artemisia, commonly called a Small Eyed Sailor, and we found it on the Fauna Paraguay site where it states:  “Like all Dynamine this species is most easily identified by its underwing pattern which show the “sideways spectacles” of most other “blue sailors” but diagnostically lack the obvious “eyespots” present in other species. It is closest to Dynamine aerata and males are only reliably distinguished by the presence of clear dark eyespots in the “sideways spectacles”. Dynamine postverta has the most marked “eyespots” of all on the ventral hindwing, whilst males are easily distinguished by the presence of large black spots on the forewing. Female postverta has numerous large white spots on the forewing (5 in this species) and three thin white bands across the hindwing (two broad bands in this species). Dynamine tithiais the most distinctive of the “blue sailors” having an underwing pattern that is mostly white and more reminiscent of the “white sailors”. Males of that species are a much deeper blue in colour and have a diagonal row of three large whitish postmedial spots and two small white apical spots surrounded by black on the forewing.”  Here is another image from FlickR.

Thank you very much Daniel.
The whole week I was digging net for results without success

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/02/2020
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Gentle Readers,
Daniel has been called out of town for a family emergency, and low and behold, he has finally entered the 21st Century by purchasing his first mobile phone, and he has been calling the iPhone 11 Pro he just bought his Magic Phone.  The magic phone takes gorgeous digital images, and Daniel has been taking images of the insects found in The Rust Belt.  Here are images of a male and female (blue scales on the underwings) Eastern Tiger Swallowtails that have been visiting the butterfly bush he is planting in his childhood front yard to replace the dead shrubs that are being removed.  Daniel apologizes for ignoring the numerous identification requests that have been flooding in, but family obligations are currently taking up most of his time.  Daniel hopes to also get some images of the Spicebush Swallowtails that he has seen in the past week.

The male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is smaller and lacks the blue scales on the underwings.

The larger female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has beautiful blue scales on the underwings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mystery butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY
Date: 07/15/2020
Time: 11:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Dispatch No. 3 from the Albany Pine Bush, with a real stumper (to me at least). Since you were so delighted with my Karner Blue butterflies a couple months ago, you’ll be happy to hear the second generation is now on the wing and the place is lousy with them. Everywhere you look, there is that flutter of blue (and sometimes they even hold still for us photographers!)
But Karner blues are old hat–this year I’ve been collecting hairstreaks. In addition to the Gray Hairstreak, which I’ve seen before, I’ve seen several Banded Hairstreaks and Coral Hairstreaks, new to me this year! Which leads me to my mystery: I stooped to photograph a butterfly a good distance away on a bush, and realized that although it looks like a hairstreak (and is about the same size), its markings don’t match anything in my field guide. (Naturally it disappeared before I could get any closer; the weird and rare ones never let me get a good photo, though as a rule I have found that hairstreaks are pretty patient about having a camera shoved in their face.)
For context, this was in an open area, gently sloping up from the trail, full of spotted knapweed, New Jersey tea (both very popular), and various other low grasses and bushes. There were a few other hairstreaks in the area, and a ton of Karner blues.
Any idea who my mystery hairstreak(?) was?
P.S. I’d be glad to send you photos of my other finds, if you’d like!
How you want your letter signed:  Susan B.

Possibly Eastern Tailed Blue

Hi Susan,
Have you entertained the possibility that this might be an Eastern Tailed Blue which is pictured on BugGuide.  That is our best guess at this time.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Beautiful biting fly (with bonus Karner Blue)
Geographic location of the bug:  Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 12:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Susan B. here with another dispatch from the Albany Pine Bush! I was having a nice raspberry-picking expedition along the trail when a rather beautiful fly came along and landed on my finger. I was so enchanted by its incredible eyes that I failed to notice it had stabbed its proboscis right into my flesh! I shooed it away, and I still have a sore spot where it bit me. Any idea who this rude little creature was?
Astute viewers will notice that while I was dealing with the fly situation, I was also providing transport to another, equally beautiful but much more polite hitchhiker: a Karner Blue that had come along and landed on my finger a few minutes earlier. I’m pleased to say I managed to both photograph and shoo the fly without disturbing my other passenger, who stuck around, lapping up my sweat, for a good quarter mile of trail.
How you want your letter signed:  Susan B.

Deer Fly

Dear Susan,
Thanks for your highly entertaining query.  You have been bitten by a Deer Fly.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on plant nectar; females on vertebrate blood; larvae carnivorous and detritus feeders.”  You described their “incredible eyes”, and this BugGuide image beautifully captures the details of the eyes of a Deer Fly. Blues are one of the groups of butterflies that frequently have “puddle parties” on damp earth, a behavior beautifully described by Vladimir Nabakov in his fiction, and scientists believe they derive important minerals from this behavior.  We suspect your salty perspiration fulfilled your Karner Blue‘s need for moisture and minerals.

Karner Blue

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination