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Posts Tagged ‘Euptoieta claudia’

I chased this orange butterfly for quite some time on Wednesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was delighted when it chose to land on top of a fallen leaf. The warm oranges and browns of the butterfly are a wonderful match for the autumn season and the fallen down leaves that now litter the landscape.

I could not immediately identify the butterfly, but when I got home I was able to determine that it is a Variegated Fritillary butterfly (Euptoieta claudia). My car windshield was covered with frost yesterday morning—autumn is definitely here and I suspect that my insect sightings will be decreasing sharply soon.

Variegated Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I am shocked and delighted by the number of butterflies that I continue to see at the end of October, despite the cooling temperatures and decreasing number of hours of daylight. Last Thursday, 28 October, I spotted a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and multiple Variegated Fritillaries (Euptoieta claudia) and Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia).

The dominant browns and oranges in the color palette of these butterflies seems to be a perfect reflection of the autumn season, when the colors in nature seem more muted than they were during the spring and the summer. For me, though, there is an inner warmth and comfort in these colors, like the feel of a well-worn flannel shirt or the taste of an autumn soup.

Monarch

Variegated Fritillary

Common Buckeye

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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This past Saturday I visited Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in nearby Vienna, Virginia with several photographer friends and was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of flowers are still in bloom. Those flowers kept the bees busy as well as an assortment of small butterflies, including this Variegated Fritillary butterfly (Euptoieta claudia).

This is a species that I do not see very often, so I was happy to capture a mostly unobstructed shot of it when it opened its wings—I am more used to seeing the somewhat similar Great Spangled Fritillary.

Variegated Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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With thousands of gorgeous flowers blooming at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland today, this beautiful butterfly, which I think is a Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia), chose to land on a lowly dandelion growing at the edge of a walkway. Why did it make that choice?

I had been chasing this butterfly around though several sections of the garden, hoping desperately that it would land somewhere within range of my 100mm macro lens. When it did finally land, I approached it cautiously and got a few shots handheld that came out pretty well. I am also including a shot that gives you an idea of the setting—there was a landscape timber to the left and a series of stone tiles that made up the walkway, and the dandelion was growing low to the ground at the edge of the walkway. The lighting was less than optimal, but sometimes you have to work with what you have, especially when the subject is likely to fly away at any moment.

I deliberated for quite some time over the identification of the butterfly. At first, I was sure that it was a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), which is orange and has brown spots. As I looked at more photos, though, I changed my mind and now think that it may be a Variegated Fritillary.

As always, I welcome assistance on the identification of my subjects.

pearl2_blogpearl1_blogpearl3_blogMichael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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