Posts Tagged 'butterflies'

Monarch Eggs

Monarch butterfly laying an egg on an emergent common milkweed leaf on Sunday in Green-Wood. This little plant is an outlier from the patch here, in danger of being mown or “weeded,” alas.
I also watched her deposit eggs on two much taller, already flowering, plants that were part of the official patch.
Closer up, you can see that the tiny eggs are grooved.

Do they ever lay more than one egg per plant? How many eggs per female? Is there anything stopping other Monarchs from laying on the same plant?

The Return of Monarchy

Saw my first Monarch Butterfly yesterday. A male. Nectaring on milkweed in Green-Wood.

Homero Gómez González

At home, the oligarchs poison us slowly, with more shit in the food supply, more sewage in the waterways, more pollution in the air, water, and soil. Trump and his monstrous allies stand for profits over people, very much at the expense of our lives. (Their cultists, the Fascist Fifth of the population, are seemingly eager to sacrifice themselves and their children for their masters’ cause.) Other life forms are even more expendable.

Abroad, the capitalist gangsters are more direct and upfront with their murders. The Monarch Butterfly advocate Homero Gómez González has been found dead after missing for two weeks. He was murdered by gangsters and/or illegal loggers, essentially one and the same where illicit businesses are entities of organized crime.

Consumer demand, for drugs, lumber, avocados, much of it from the U.S., drive Mexico’s violent kleptocracy.

Know what you’re buying; look before you leap into complicity. The horrors are usually hidden away behind the packaging and the advertising, so start with the assumption that the corporate entity is a criminal enterprise. One simple act of refusal is to not sell you eyes to the Stuporbowl. A second is to stop using Amazon.

Gómez’s video of massing butterflies are mesmerizing.

The murder of environmentalists and other dissenters is standard operating procedure in authoritarian regimes. The Republican Party, and the props and fools who vote for them, are moving us in this direction every day.

Late Insecta

Not a single bee, wasp, or butterfly spotted yesterday in Green-Wood during lunch. There was a suggestion or two of fly, and at least one spider. The first real day of winter, then, bug-wise.

Last weekend, though, these stragglers were spotted:
Differential Grasshopper, a big one.
One of the confusing Syrphid flies.
Clouded Sulphur.
Vinegar fly.
Variegated Fritillary.
Large Yellow Ant, according to iNaturalist. Reproductive ants are winged, the better to spread the genes, and the wasp-ant similarity really comes through.
Speaking of wasps… there are so many species! This may be a member of the Square-headed Wasp subfamily.

Butterflies Are Free

Recognize this? This was a surprise at the recent Whitman exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum, where the image for the exhibit shows a famous photograph of the older WW holding a butterfly.

Yup, one and the same. (Bigger on the M’s site…)

And in that spirit:
A full house, Monarchs high.


September 17th. I noticed this chrysalis hanging by silken threads in the doorway of a mausoleum. I thought it was Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
September 18th.
Parenthetical: there was a spider right next door.
September 21st. I don’t know what’s going here. Breached by something?
October 5th.

For the first time, the wealthiest Americans paid a lower overall tax rate last year than the middle class. Why? Decades of tax cuts. The rise of tax dodging. And the Trump tax cut.”

Butterfly Reprise

What a year for butterflies! All these were seen in the last two weeks. I’ve now seen 28 species in Kings County, according to iNaturalist. Plus one skipper, oh those bedeviling skippers, only identified to genus level.

I meant to post this yesterday, but I screwed up the scheduling. It was 94F on Wednesday and the butterflies were busy. Yesterday dawned at 55F and the temp didn’t stray much from there all the daylight hours. Definitely not butterfly weather.


When a body meets a body coming through the…
Black Swallowtail caterpillar fit to pupate.
The Asteroid, AKA Goldenrod Hooded Owlet.
A reprise of the Common Buckeye caterpillar.
Five were seen in the same small patch.
The blue spines!
Our old friend the Monarch. On the same day, two days ago, a female was laying eggs nearby. This has not been a great year for Monarch caterpillars in Green-Wood.
An addendum to last Friday’s post on Tiger Swallowtails.
This is a brand new chrysalis.

This is hard to read, but the unspeakable has become our reality.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

I’m missing the egg stage, but otherwise here’s the run:
The first few instars of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail mimic bird droppings. This one was on the nearly horizontal surface of a magnolia leaf, right out in the open. Finally saw one!
The caterpillar is green in youth. Or is that middle age?
Old age, or…
…the the start of something new?

These images represent multiple years and different individuals. I found them all except for the green instar, which was a sample taken by an entomologist at the BioBlitz on Saturday; what a illustration of how it blends in with the green of a magnolia leaf! The late instar was on the sidewalk in my old neighborhood, under a tuliptree (which is a rare street tree here, but found in all our woods). The pupa was just something I ran into. “Found” suggests intentionality: of course I’m always looking for life, but fairly haphazardly. If I see something, I say something. Only the bird-turd form was a reward of some intentional close examination of several sapling magnolias. Having seen the ento’s specimen, I said to myself, now where would I find some magnolias? At around a centimeter long, it was most difficult to photograph.

Viceroy vs. Monarch

Limenitis archippus.
Danaus plexippus.

Viceroy pictured first. The black band across the hindwings is the most obvious field-mark difference. In the Southwest, however, this band can be faint or even missing. The Viceroy is also smaller than the Monarch, which is one of our largest butterfly species. This Viceroy was seen, along with a couple of others, and some Monarchs, at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR in Ulster County, NY. I’ve never seen one in Brooklyn. There are four Brooklyn (Kings Co.) records in iNaturalist, three from 2017, one from 2018. Butterflies and Moths of NA has one record, from 2017. Why so few? Willow, aspen, and poplar are their larval foodplants. But they like “wet meadows, edges of watercourses, and other open wet habitats” (David L. Wagner, Caterpillars of Eastern North America), not common here.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) included here because, come on, this picture!, but also because they are in the same genus as Viceroys.

Viceroys famously mimic Monarchs. It was originally thought they just looked like Monarchs, which are distasteful to many predators because of the milkweed sap (latex) they eat, but there is now some thought that Viceroys also taste horrible as well. In Florida, the Viceroys are redder, mimicking Queen (Danaus gilippus) butterflies.


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