Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"

Subject:  Moth-like Butterfly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Grafton, Wisconsin
Date: 08/01/2019
Time: 11:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there,
I saw this butterfly on my walk today, haven’t seen one of these before so I’m curious to know what kind of butterfly it is. It almost looked like a moth at first. Thanks for the help!
How you want your letter signed:  Amber

Silver Spotted Skipper

Dear Amber,
This butterfly is a Silver Spotted Skipper, which we verified by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.  The silver spots are actually on the undersides of the hind wings as pictured in this BugGuide image.  Skippers are often discussed as having traits of both butterflies and moths.

Subject:  Marine Blue Laying an Egg
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 07/23/2019
Time: 04:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
It may be silly, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to get a picture of a Marine Blue laying eggs.  I’ve been watching them for years in my back yard and rarely ever see them sitting still.
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Marine Blue lays Egg

Dear Jeff,
Your image is great, and there is nothing silly about getting excited about getting an image of a Marine Blue laying an egg.  Was the chosen plant plumbago?  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar hosts: Leadwort (
Plumbago) and many legumes including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), milkvetch (Astragalus), and mesquite (Prosopis).”

Hi Daniel,
Yes, the plant is a Cape Plumbago. By the way, if you acquire a Cape Plumbago, I suggest it be kept in a pot.  I planted one in my back yard and it rapidly showed it’s intent on world domination.
I also tried to get a picture of the eggs, but they are so small, I cannot see them.
Thanks for the gardening advice Jeff.  We have no plans to plant Plumbago, but it is flourishing in our neighbor’s yard. 

Subject:  Leucistic butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  8 miles SW of Casper, WY
Date: 06/21/2019
Time: 10:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Daniel, I thought this leucistic Variable Checkerspot butterfly I photographed 6/14/19 might interest your readers.  I’m including typically marked checkerspots for comparison.
How you want your letter signed:  Dwaine

Leucistic Variable Checkerspot

Dear Dwaine,
We needed to research the term “leucistic” before we could address your submission, and we learned on Merriam Webster that leucanism is “an abnormal condition of reduced pigmentation affecting various animals (such as birds, mammals, and reptiles) that is marked by overall pale color or patches of reduced coloring and is caused by a genetic mutation which inhibits melanin and other pigments from being deposited in feathers, hair, or skin.”  In continuing our research, we found there are no examples of leucistic Variable Checkerspots on BugGuide, nor is there any mention in Jeffrey Glassberg’s Butterflies Through Binoculars The West.  We are thrilled that you have allowed us to publish your images, and also thanks for including an image documenting the normal variations of the Variable Checkerspot,
Euphydryas chalcedona.

Leucistic Variable Checkerspot

You are very welcome, and I have the greatest respect for what you do.

Variable Checkerspots

Subject:  spider on black swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug:  Auburn, California
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 01:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought this was a cool image of a spider incapacitating a black swallowtail. This was along a trail, near the flowers the butterfly was feeding on. Maybe a crab spider? Enjoy!
How you want your letter signed:  k. cassidy

Crab Spider eats Pipevine Swallowtail

Dear k. cassidy,
This is an awesome image.  We agree that this is a Crab Spider.  Crab Spiders do not build webs to snare prey.  Many species, especially pastel colored, pink, yellow or white Crab Spiders, are camouflaged in blossoms where they wait to ambush pollinating prey like bees and butterflies.  Your Swallowtail is actually a Pipevine Swallowtail.  Did you witness the Crab Spider capture the Pipevine Swallowtail?  If not, was the Swallowtail still alive when you encountered this awesome Food Chain illustration, though interestingly, this is not the first time we have received documentation of a Crab Spider eating a Pipevine Swallowtail.

yes, love the pipevine swallowtails this time of year (here they like the lilac and brodiaea best). I did not see it in the capturing phase, but this butterfly was still alive though incapacitated. Seemingly big prey, but the spider had him for sure! This is in the Auburn State Recreation Area along the American River in Northern California.
Thanks for the ink to the other crab spider catching a pipevine! I didn’t see that when I first searched.
Enjoy and share the image!

Subject:  Butterfly in South Brazil
Geographic location of the bug:  Florianópolis SC Brazil
Date: 04/17/2019
Time: 10:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Mr. Bugman, it is fall and there are beautiful asteraceae flowering. I found this beautiful butterfly feeding on one Eupatorium inulifolium (I think) and would like your help with its identification please.
How you want your letter signed:  Carolina

Metalmark we believe

Dear Carolina,
We actually believe this is a diurnal Moth and not a butterfly, but we have not been able to locate any similar looking Brazilian specimens.  We need to do more research, and perhaps Cesar Crash or one of our other readers will recognize this beauty and write in with an identification.

Oh! Thanks for posting! Will standby for this moth ID.

Update:  Metalmark Butterfly
Two different readers wrote in identifying this as a Metalmark Butterfly in the family Riodinidae.  The closest match was found by Cesar Crash on Butterflies of America.

Oh thank you so much Daniel.

Subject:  First Monarch of the Year
Geographic location of the bug:  West LosAngeles
Date: 04/16/2019
Time: 02:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Found this guy probably a short while after he emerged.  What a beauty.
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Male Monarch

Dear Jeff,
This is a beautiful male Monarch, and we agree that he is most likely newly emerged from the chrysalis.  We have seen a few female Monarch butterflies this year nectaring from the Lantana.