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Posts Tagged ‘Silvery Checkerspot’

In one corner of Jackson Miles Wetland Refuge there is a patch of wildflowers that I love to explore whenever I visit the refuge. In the past I have spotted bird, butterflies, and dragonflies amidst the flowers. Black-eyed Susans are now in bloom in that patch and I was thrilled on Saturday to capture this image of a Silvery Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis) feeding on one of the flowers. As I noted in an earlier posting, I have not seen many large butterflies this season, so it is especially nice to see the smaller ones.

I am pretty sure that this is a Silvery Checkerspot butterfly, though I have sometimes had troubles in the past distinguishing between Silvery Checkerspots and the somewhat similar Pearl Crescent butterflies (Phyciodes tharos).

Silvery Checkerspot

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What do you think is going on when you see this cluster of Silvery Checkerspot butterflies (Chlosyne nycteis)? Perhaps you think that they all are feeding on something particularly tasty. If you look closely you will noticed that they are facing in different directions and you get the feeling that something else is going on.

I had the benefit of seeing the situation unfold in front of my eyes. A few moments earlier I spotted the mating couple that you see in the second image. I do not see mating butterflies very often so my attention was very much focused on them. Suddenly another butterfly burst on the scene and attempted to turn this into a ménage à trois. In the first image, the interloper is the one on the left.

I suspect that the third butterfly is a male rival and he is trying to steal the female away. He made attempts from several angles to break apart the couple, but was not successful and eventually gave up. I decided that the couple needed some privacy, so I too departed.

Pearl Crescent

Pearl Crescent

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Recently I spotted this small orange and brown butterfly while I was roaming the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I initially thought it was a Pearl Crescent butterfly, a familiar species, and posted a photo on Facebook. One of my friends there, however, pointed out that my little butterfly was actually a Silvery Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis), a new species for me.

The composition in my image is pretty simple, but I really like the way that it turned out, with the soft contours of the butterfly juxtaposed with the linear veins of the leaf and the sharp contrast between the dominant green and orange tones. The shadows are a real bonus, adding additional interest to the photo.

Silvery Checkerspot

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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