Geographic location of the bug: Southwest Florida
Time: 03:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I have identified & photographed well over 100 species of butterflies/moths over many years, but I am at a loss for the name of this beauty, and no amount of research has been successful. Many thanks for your help!
Respectfully, Kathy Genaw
How you want your letter signed: Kathy Genaw
We too are having a difficult time identifying you Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It looks most to us like the White Peacock, Anartia jatrophae, which can be viewed on BugGuide and on Carolina Nature, and we suspect it is closely related. It is found in Florida, but though the dorsal side is similar, the ventral side is quite different. We suspect it might be closely related, and is most likely a tropical species that has found its way to Florida. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a more conclusive identification.
Update: January 24, 2020
We have received two comments that this is an unusually colored White Peacock. The darker coloration is known as melanism and both melanic and melanistic are appropriate adjectives to describe this individual.
Many thanks for your follow-up comments regarding my mystery butterfly. I agree that it resembles the common White Peacock in some ways. As a matter of fact, my photos indicate that I had photographed one of them nearby. Perhaps the exact ID of this lovely butterfly in question is actually less important than having had the opportunity to observe and record such a beautiful flyer! May such opportunities continue for all of us for a very long time!