Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shabby Butterflies

I think Blue Jay Barrens has been host to a Shabby Butterfly Contest. These two Great Spangled Fritillaries won the couples competition and the partner on the left went away with Grand Champion.

Normally at this time of year, Swallowtail Butterflies are everywhere. These big bright butterflies have been absent so far this year. In fact, I didn’t see any butterflies that even came close to being freshly emerged.

This is the runner-up Fritillary. Great Spangled Fritillaries were here in record numbers earlier in the year, so it’s not surprising to be seeing these aged specimens.

Edwards’ Hairstreaks also emerged in impressive numbers this summer. This fellow isn’t looking nearly as nice as the fresh specimens I showed a few weeks ago. Hopefully, these old timers are an indication that the breeding season went well and many eggs were laid.

It’s hard to recognize this Spring Azure. There’s not much left of the flashy blue color normally displayed.

It looks like something may have given this Pearl Crescent a bite from behind while it had its wings closed. That little gap in the tail of the right wing seems to match the gap in the left.

This Pipevine Swallowtail is the only swallowtail I saw all day. The missing sections of wing make the tail appear to be super long. Part of the wing’s function is to divert the predator’s attention from the vulnerable body. This allows the butterfly to survive to fulfill its primary function of laying the eggs that will produce the next generation.

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