Category Archives: flowers

Common Buckeye

common buckeye 2 2017

Thought I would share another great butterfly from southern Indiana, the Common Buckeye, photographed at Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana. Maybe the most beautiful butterfly that inhabits our area and certainly one of my favorite.

According to Wikipedia….

Junonia coenia, the common buckeye or buckeye, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and all parts of the United States except the northwest, and is especially common in the south, the California coast, and throughout Central America ,Colombia & India .The subspecies Junonia coenia bergi is endemic to the island of Bermuda.

Its habitat is open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. This species and its relatives were placed formerly in the genus Precis.

The bold pattern of eyespots and white bars on the upper wing surface is distinctive in much of its range, though compare related species in the same genus. These are mangrove buckeye (Junonia evarete) and tropical buckeye (Junonia genoveva), formerly considered one species, and the smoky buckeye (Junonia evarete). The eyespots likely serve to startle or distract predators, especially young birds. The species has many flights throughout the year, with mostly northward migrations for the summer. Much of the northern United States is only colonized in the fall from southern populations. Some of the later broods move southwards in the fall. Common buckeyes exhibit seasonal polyphenism, the summer version of the butterfly has light yellowish ventral wings and is called “linea”. The fall morph has pink ventral wings, and is called the “rosa” morph.

Adults feed on nectar and also take fluids from mud and damp sand. Males perch on bare ground or low plants, occasionally patrolling in search of females, but they are not territorial. The female lays eggs singly on buds or the upper side of leaves. The caterpillars are solitary and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the host plant. A variety of (typically) herbaceous plants are used, including especially plants in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). These include snapdragon (Antirrhinum), toadflax (Linaria), and Gerardia. Caterpillars also feed on plants of the plantain family, such as Plantago; and the Acanthus family including ruellia (Ruellia nodiflora). Larvae feed singly. Adults and some larvae overwinter in southern areas. The pupa may not have a resting phase (diapause), as in many other butterflies.

Well that’s the description of this great butterfly hope you enjoyed the info and image, thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

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Painted Lady

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Another example of one of the many diverse species of butterflies that live here in Southern Indiana. This one was photographed at Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana a couple weeks back. This year has seen an incredible number of painted ladies in the area which has been an unexpected surprise.

Hope you enjoy the image and I will share more in from Wikipedia…

The painted lady (V. cardui) is a large butterfly (wing span 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in)) identified by the black and white corners of its mainly deep orange, black-spotted wings. It has five white spots in the black forewing tips and while the orange areas may be pale here and there, there are no clean white dots in them. The hindwings carry four small submarginal eyespots on the dorsal and ventral sides. Those on the dorsal side are black, but in the summer morph sometimes small blue pupils are present.

The American painted lady (V. virginiensis) is most easily distinguishable by its two large hindwing eyespots on the ventral side. V. virginiensis also features a white dot within the subapical field of the forewings set in pink on the ventral side, and often as a smaller clean white dot in the orange of the dorsal side too. A less reliable indicator is the row of eyespots on the dorsal submarginal hindwing; V. virginiensis often has two larger outer spots with blue pupils. The black forewing tips have four to five white spots; usually the largest is whitish orange.

The West Coast lady (V. annabella) does not have obvious ventral eyespots. On the dorsal side, V. anabella lacks a white dot in the subapical orange found in V. virginiensis, and is a purer orange color. V. annabella has a fully orange subapical band and leading edge on the forewing. The submarginal row of hindwing spots in V. annabella features three or four blue pupils. The two larger pupils in V. annabella are the inner spots, rather than the outer spots as in corresponding V. virginiensis.

The Australian painted lady (V. kershawi) is quite similar to V. cardui. Its four ventral eyespots are less clearly defined, and it always sports at least three (often four) blue pupil spots on its dorsal hindwing. Caterpillars are found mainly on Ammobium alatum.

Monarch Sunset

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Warm evening light bathes this beautiful Monarch Butterfly as it stops to rest and feed on its long journey to Mexico. Monarch butterflies perform annual migrations across North America which have been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world”.

Starting in September and October, eastern and northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration[2] and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle.

Similarly, the western populations migrate annually between regions west of the Rocky Mountains including northern Canada and overwintering sites on the coast of California.

I captured this amazing specimen just south of the Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana the fields that surround that area have been planted in an wonderful assortment of native wildflowers and this year I have been blessed to capture some awesome images of the great variety that utilized the fields.

Hope you enjoy the image and thanks for visiting my blog !!

Zebra Swallowtail

Here is a gallery of one of my favorite butterflies that call our area home the zebra swallowtail. From Wikipedia…
Protographium marcellus, the zebra swallowtail, (formerly listed under genera Eurytides, Iphiclides, Graphium and Papilio by some authorities) is a swallowtail butterfly native to the eastern United States and southeast Canada. Its distinctive wing shape and long tails make it easy to identify, and its black-and-white-striped pattern is reminiscent of a zebra. The butterflies are closely associated with pawpaws, and are rarely found far from these trees. The green or black caterpillars feed on the leaves of various pawpaw species, while the adults feed on flower nectar and minerals from damp soil.

The zebra swallowtail has a wingspan of 6.4 to 10.4 cm (2.5 to 4.1 in).[3] The triangular wings are white to greenish white with black longitudinal stripes. A pair of swordlike tails extend from the hindwings. The inner margin of the hindwing has two blue spots on the corner and a red spot near the body. A red stripe runs along the middle of the ventral hindwing. P. marcellus has two seasonal forms, one occurring in the spring and the other in the summer. Spring forms are smaller, more white, and have short, black tails with white tips. Summer forms are larger, have broader black stripes, and longer, black tails with white edges.

The zebra swallowtail can be seen from late March to August in the northern portion of its range and from February to December in the southern portion. It has two broods in the north and three to four in the south,with the first brood being the most numerous
Males will patrol near host plants in search of females, flying swiftly and directly.They usually fly 0.5 to 1.8 meters (2 to 6 ft) above the ground. Females will fly slowly when searching for suitable host plants.Both males and females avidly visit flowers, including species from the families Apocynaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Lythraceae, Polemoniaceae, and Rosaceae. Males participate in a behavior known as puddling, in which individuals congregate on sand, gravel, or moist soil to obtain salts and amino acids.[7] These nutrients aid the male in reproduction. Other food sources include rotting fruit and urine.

Since the caterpillars are cannibalistic, females lay their eggs singly on pawpaw leaves or on the tree trunks. The round egg is pale green, later turning orange brown. Young caterpillars are black with lighter colored transverse stripes. Older larvae have two color forms. The more common form is green with yellow and white transverse stripes; the rarer form is black and banded with white and orange. In both forms, between the swollen thorax and the abdomen, there is a yellow, black, and bluish-white band. The larva has a yellow, foul-smelling, forked gland called an osmeterium which it will use to deter predators, especially spiders and ants. The chrysalis is either green or brown, and is more compact compared to chrysalids in the genus Papilio. Three small horns project from the head and thorax. The chrysalis hibernates in areas of its range with cold winters.

Sorry for the long post but I do find the info from Wikipedia very useful there is just no way I could collect and write that much info I just will stick with the photographic part of it.

Butterfly Survey

It’s been my best year yet for butterfly photography and attending the butterfly survey at Big Oaks NWR was a definite highlight..
Joseph R. Robb made the experience not only a educational adventure but also guided us thru one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the midwest. My son and I cant thank him and all the others enough who volunteered their time to make it such a wonderful experience.
We counted 46 different species and a rough total of 1590 butterflies what a great day !!
Can’t wait till next year !!!

Wildflowers

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This slideshow is an example of just a few of the many wildflowers that I captured this year here in Jefferson County Indiana. They were all photographed in Clifty Falls State Park earlier this spring.

Some of the best wildflower displays I have ever witnessed came from our own backyard and if giving a chance you should get out and experience the wonderful natural diversity that this area has to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Splinter Ridge FWA and Big Oaks NWR are just a few places to go and view the beautiful display of wildflowers that inhabit our home.

Virginia Bluebells / Clifty Falls State Park Wildflowers

Changing up a bit here and I think I will start posting images from what is my favorite subject to photograph and that is wildflowers. And I will share them from one of my favorite spots to photograph at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana.

Clifty has an incredibly diverse amount of wildflowers and some of the finest displays in the midwest. If you get a chance to visit in mid to late April I would definitely make the trip I don’t think you would be disappointed not only are the wildflowers worth the trip but hiking in the park is second to none.

The subject I am sharing today is also one of my favorites and that is the Virginia Bluebell.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mertensia virginica (common names Virginia bluebell, Virginia cowslip, lungwort oysterleaf, Roanoke bells) is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers, native to eastern North America.

Virginia bluebell has rounded and gray-green leaves, borne on stems up to 24 in (60 cm) tall. They are petiolate at the bottom of the flower stem and sessile at the top.

Flowerbuds are pink. Flowers have five petals fused into a tube, five stamens, and a central pistil (carpel). They are borne in mid-spring in nodding spiral-shaped cymes at the end of arched stems. Flowers are usually blue, but white or pink flowers occur rarely.

The stamens and stigma are spaced too far apart for self-fertilization. The flower can be pollinated by bumblebees but, due to its funnel shape bumblebees must hover, making the bumblebee a rare pollinator. Butterflies are the most common pollinators because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar.

In early summer, each fertilized flower produces four seeds within wrinkled nuts, and the plant goes dormant till the next spring.

Plants are hardy to hardiness zone 3: −40 °C (−40 °F).

That is the detailed description which I am too lazy to come up with myself and I will share one of my original images I captured earlier this spring.

Hope you enjoy the info and image and thanks for taking the time to stop by and take a look.

 

virginia bluebells 1 2015