Thursday, May 10, 2012

April: Butterfly Afternoons At Scull Shoals

During April, we were treated to a number of different butterflies along a road in the Scull Shoals Experimental Forest in Greene County, Georgia.

The road runs beside a deciduous forest above a swamp. The butterflies feed along the edge of the woods or find minerals in the gravel road.

Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas). Superficially, Eastern Tailed-blues look like Spring or Summer Azures. However, they have tiny tails on their wings. After landing, they will open their wings rather than keeping them closed like the Azures do.

Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor). The upper butterfly arrived first; the lower one arrived later. They were getting minerals from the gravel. They danced around each other for a while before the upper one flew off.We don't see these butterflies very often and it was a treat to see two at the same time.

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos). We saw a lot of these this Spring.

Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta). At first I thought this was a Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) but a close inspection of the photograph confirmed that it was a Summer Azure. The azures sit with wings folded and rarely open them for any length of time. The markings on the underside of the wings are lighter on the Summer Azure than on the Spring Azure.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus). This was a fortunate catch. I’d photographed a zebra in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge a few months ago but most have been continuously on the move and rarely settling long enough to photograph. This zebra settled on a muscadine leaf for several minutes before it flew off into the woods.

Most of the butterflies were looking for moisture on leaves and ignoring the…

Hawthorne (Crataegus sp.) bush

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis). This American Lady worked the hawthorne flowers for quite a while.

We’re beginning to see new butterflies in late April-May. More of these later…

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

Michael Beohm, West Central Georgia Butterflies:

- Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas)

- Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor)

- Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

- Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)

- Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

- American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Related posts:

- Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

- Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Late Winter Surprises (Part 1)

- Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)


Kay G. said...

Great photos of butterflies.
That one that is the Zebra Swallowtail, I think you called it? We saw so many of them on the trails at Stone Mountain and at Arabia Mountain, and I tried SO HARD to get a photo, but they are so darn fast, I just couldn't do it.
You were so lucky to get such a great photo!

JSK said...

From what I understand, the Zebra swallowtails rarely settle and that's been our experience all Spring. I was just lucky. This one did take off several times and returned to this leaf before it finally left and flew back into the woods.