Thursday, July 5, 2012

It’s Hot And I’m Keeping My Wings Folded

June 23rd, 2012. It’s hot! It’s been in the 90s F and low 100s F for the last two weeks. And the butterflies are feeling it. We were in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge at Pond 2A when I spotted a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) and another tiny butterfly that turned out to be a Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima) feeding on Sneezeweed (Helenium amarum) flowers.  

Pearl Crescent

In May, the Pearl Cresents kept their wings open when feeding or resting to absorb warmth. I photographed this butterfly on May 12th in the Piedmont NWR.


Now they land and immediately folded their wings while feeding, only opening them to fly to another flower. It did make it easy to see the underside of the wings for a change.

Southern Skipperling


I’d never seen a Southern Skipperling before but I’m not surprised. These little guys are barely ½ inch long. I only noticed this one only because it was feeding with the Pearl Crescent.

It was interesting to watch how both of these butterflies fed. They didn’t wander over the flower. They stood on the center of the flower and pivoted as they fed from the opened florets at the margin of the flower. I’d never noticed this before.
Click on an image to view a closer image

Identification resources: 
Butterflies and Moths of North America: 

Michael Beohm: West Central Georgia Butterflies
- Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) 

- Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)  [Side] [Top]

Related post:
- Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)


Kay G. said...

I have noticed this but just thought it was because I was trying to take a photo!
Makes sense now that you explain it.

JSK said...

I didn't notice it either until I was reviewing the photos. Then I also noticed that the florets at the edge of the flower were opened and those in the center weren't. Maybe the butterflies wouldn't look so 'organized' if more of the florets were open.