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

Subject: West Los Angeles sighting – Marine Blue 1
Location: West Los Angeles
July 11, 2017 10:13 am
HI Bugman,
We planted Cape Plumbago to attract these little butterflies. Marine Blues have been the most difficult butterflies to photograph and I have not been able to get pics of anything but adults. They almost never rest and flit around my yard about 2 feet off the ground. If two meet, they spiral together about 15 feet up in the air.
These first photos were taken in 2011.
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Marine Blue

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for resending these images.  We agree that they represent the Marine Blue.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar hosts: Leadwort (
Plumbago) and many legumes including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), milkvetch (Astragalus), and mesquite (Prosopis).”  Having the plumbago in your yard is providing food for both adults and caterpillars. 

Marine Blue

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: West Los Angeles sighting – Monarch 1
Location: West Los Angeles
July 6, 2017 8:26 am
Hi Bugman,
Here’s the first set of pictures of Monarchs
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Mating Monarch Butterflies

Dear Jeff,
Thank you so much for sending your gorgeous images documenting the complete life cycle of the Monarch butterfly.  It is going to take us a healthy chunk of time to format all your images and set up the posting properly so we are just starting by posting an image of a mating pair of Monarchs.  The male is the individual with the open wings, and the female appears to have been tagged because her hind wings have what appears to be an inked marking.  We can also identify the male, according to BugGuide, because:  “Males have scent-scale patches on hindwings, prominent when wings are open, and just possible to see when wings are folded.”  Over the course of the day, we hope to get all your excellent images added to the posting.

Male Monarch

Hi Daniel,
I don’t have complete life cycles for the rest of the butterflies that have graced our back yard, but I’ll send in what I have.  Regarding the Marine Blue, I can resend them with the other pics.  The ones I sent seemed to have unusual coloring.
By the way, I want to thank you for so graciously accepting my pictures.  It makes me happy to be able to share them.
Jeff

Female Monarch

Nectaring Monarchs

Ovipositing Female Monarch

Monarch Egg

Monarch Caterpillar Hatchling

Monarch Caterpillar

Prepupal Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Chrysalis

Monarch Chrysalis (adult about to emerge)

Newly Eclosed Monarch

Emerged Adult Monarch

Monarch Nursery

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly
Location: Lesbos
June 28, 2017 1:15 pm
Daniel,
You were kind enough to identify some insects on Lesbos for me some time ago. I have now been back to Lesbos and have s few more for you. I hope to use these in a talk I have been asked to do for an RSPB group and would appreciate your help as I have been unable to identify them on line,
Regards
Signature: William Smiton

Small Copper

Dear William,
We began to research this Copper Butterfly with the Checklist of the Butterflies of Lesvos that is included on the Lesvos Birding site.  Two coppers are listed and the Small Copper link led us to this image on FlickR of
Lycaena phlaeas.  We learned on Learn About Butterflies that:  “The Small Copper is a very widespread species, occurring in Canada, the eastern United States, the Canary Isles, almost all of Europe including sub-arctic areas of Scandinavia, and across temperate Asia as far east as Japan. It also occurs across much of Africa, from the Atlas mountains and north African grasslands, south to Kenya and Malawi.”  According to BugGuide, the common name is American Copper, but that just won’t do for Lesbos.  BugGuide does note:  “The name American Copper is misleading, as there is nothing particularly American about this species. It is found across Eurasia and in mountains of northern and eastern Africa, and it bears many vernacular names depending upon the region found. It is the most widespread species of the genus Lycaena, and among the most widespread of all butterfly species.”

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