12 August, 2011

Butterfly and Moth

After a slow, cool start to summer here in Minnesota, our garden came into its own in late July and early August.  The flowers, birds, and insects have been a delight to watch in their splendid glory.  Even though we have been busy getting the house ready to sell, I have managed to take lots of photos of the flora and fauna.  But I haven't been able to manage posting a blog entry, until now.

One of the lovely insects that has been flitting around is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus).  This female is feeding on butterfly weed; in fact she was holding on for dear life as the wind blustered around.   The blue on the hindwing is seen only on the females.

have seen her or other females in the garden for several weeks now.  They are quite
large with a wing span of around 6 inches (165 mm) for the females and a little smaller for the males. 

These swallowtails have lovely colors on the upper and undersides of their wings.

The blue (first photo)is more visible from above and the orange is more visible from below.
I find the Eastern Swallowtails to be one of the most beautiful butterflies in North America.
On the other extreme is this moth, Palthis angulalis - Dark-spotted Palthis.  It is in a subfamily called the "litter moths", which reflects their usual habitat.

It is fairly small; that is an oregano leaf it is on in the photos.  And at first glance, it seems drab.  But look at that structure sticking out from its head!  What is that?

From a different perspective, you can see the interesting shape of its wings.  

From above it looks to me like an F16 fighter plane.

In fact, that was how i keyed it out.  I did a Google search on "moths that look like F16s" and found the genus in the 3rd item.

That took me to http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740, a great site that I use pretty often.
  Now if I could only figure out what is going on with that funky schnoz ...


  1. I love your butterflies.
    Beautiful scenes from your beautiful garden,

  2. Great shots of an amazing butterfly Wilma.

  3. Good to see you back posting Wilma.
    A couple of very interesting flyers.
    A beautiful butterfly, and a strange looking moth.

  4. I had to laugh at your Google search Wilma, but hey, it got you there!!

    I have lots of herbs in my garden too, they seem to be the best at attracting insects, Oh! by the way, I have no idea what the moth is ;-)

  5. Beautiful images of those butterflys, never seen them before.

  6. What a strange looking moth, Wilma. Resembles one called the Snout, we have over here. But yours is so much better.

  7. Costas - you get the prize for almost always being the first to comment on a new post! Thank you for your support, it means a lot to me.

    Keith - I can't believe my last post was in May! How derelict of me! Thanks for letting me know I was missed and I'll try to stay a little more current. I have a few more posts up my sleeve ...

    Warren - thanks for visiting and commenting. Google searches are amazing in linking us to the info we are really after, even if we don't know the technical terms to express it in!

    Anthony - thank you. These swallowtails seem almost like big gaudy tropical butterflies, don't they?

    Dean - thanks for taking a look. We have some snouts over here, too, but this one is in a separate group. And it seems to have an extra, vertical, flourish that the snouts lack. Must serve some purpose, don't you think?

    I appreciate all the comments. thanks!

  8. No butterflies as large as your beautiful Swallowtails in our country.....good to see you posting again.

  9. You do get some great species of flutters over there, I guess the hawkmoths and Purple Emperor are the closest we get to such brazen beauty

  10. I have just had a wonderful browse of your blog... lovely images and a very nice read.

  11. David - I don't if they are the biggest we have, but they must be close. It is good to be back.

    Andrew - I have never seen the Purple Emperor except in blogs. Thanks for stopping by.

    Andrew - welcome and thanks for visiting and commenting, I appreciate it.



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