Posts Tagged ‘Enodia anthedon’


Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

When choosing plants for the garden, I try to keep in mind the needs of garden visitors. Not people who may drop by, but a host of birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators who enliven the garden every day. And when I’m outside, working in the garden or just strolling, I like to keep my camera close at hand for opportune photo moments. Some of the butterflies that I was lucky enough to ‘capture’ with my camera this season are featured here today.

Opening the post is a Viceroy butterfly, a look-alike of the well-known but disappearing Monarch. Viceroys are a bit smaller, and have a distinctive black line across their hind wings. It was thought that Viceroys benefitted from their mimicry of Monarchs as predators avoid the bad-tasting Monarch, but research suggests that the Viceroy has its own disagreeable taste that wards off birds.

In addition to nectar sources, butterflies also need host plants to serve as nurseries for their caterpillars. Pollinators of all types, including butterflies are under severe pressure from the overuse of pesticides and habitat destruction. Any contribution you can make with your garden is a help.

Some butterflies have very specific requirements for host plants, while others are generalists. Monarchs are well-know to use milkweed. Viceroy caterpillars use willows. There are many willow species, and some, such as corkscrew willow or blue arctic willow, can be pleasing additions to a garden.

White Admiral

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)

The White Admiral is closely related to the Viceroy, and also uses willows, cottonwoods, poplars and related trees as its larval food source.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)

Here’s a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail visiting catmint. The Canadian is very similar to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, but ranges farther north. It is a bit smaller than its southern cousin. Its larval foodplants include birch, aspen, black cherry and other trees.

Pearl Crescent

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

Here’s a Pearl Crescent on the last of the spring forget-me-nots. Pearl Crescents are small butterflies, but their brilliant orange and black pattern is eye-catching. Their larval foodplants are asters.

Northern Pearly-eye

Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon)

Northern Pearly-eyes are rapid flyers. They’re usually found in woods or in meadows near a water souce. Unlike many other butterflies, they don’t visit flowers, but land on tree trunks or trails or low vegetation. Adults feed on dung, fungi, carrion, and sap from willows, poplars, and birch. Grasses are their larval foodplant.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Finally, here’s a Great Spangled Fritillary. The adults nectar on many varieties of flowers, but the larval foodplant is specifically violets. A good source of information about butterflies is the Butterflies and Moths of North America website. The page highlighting the Great Spangled Fritillary is linked here.

A very nice book that features beautiful pictures of the life cycle of 23 common butterfly species, from egg to adult, is The Life Cycles of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards. It offers a terrific introduction to these amazing creatures, and is quite highly recommended.


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Female Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Female Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Hot summer afternoons are the perfect time to dragonfly-watch down by the pond. I spotted dragonflies of 5 different species, including Green Darners (Anax junius), one of the most impressive. Green Darners are large and stocky, with an eye-catching bright green thorax and turquoise-blue abdomen. Strong fliers, several were patrolling the pond but they never settled to have their picture taken! Others were more cooperative, and their photos are featured here. Dragonflies prey upon a variety of insects, usually catching dinner on the wing.

Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)

Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)

Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia)

Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia)

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)


An Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) was also catching insects. The kingbird perched on a bare branch with a good view over the pond and made hawking forays out over the water, sometimes hovering in place. Kingbirds can be readily identified by the white band across the bottom of their tail feathers.



While I was watching little fish in the shallow water over a submerged board, a water scorpion (Ranatra fusca) strolled by. They’re impressive insects, several inches long. The long “stinger” at the rear isn’t a stinger at all. It’s actually a pair of breathing tubes used to connect with the water surface. The front legs are modified to catch prey, which are dispatched with a bite.


Water Scorpion (Ranatra fusca)

Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon)

Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon)

Settled on some flotsam nearby was a Northern Pearly-eye butterfly. They visit mud and sap, but not flowers. Their larval foodplant is grass. A bit farther up the shore was a Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice). These pretty yellow butterflies are common, flitting over meadows and along roadsides. Their larval foodplants include white clover, alfalfa and other legumes.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

The pond is a happenin’ place.


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