Great Spangled Fritillary . . . Nectaring

Great spangled fritillary butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

She was feeding. concentrating on consuming as much nutrient-rich nectar as she could, from these robust Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) flowers. Some butterflies hover over bloom like mini-helicopters, others perch on the blooms with their wings in furious movement. Great spangled fritillaries set nearly motionless on one flower, then move to the next. This feeding is deliberate, and maximizes the volume of nectar that she can obtain.

It was the morning of the 4th of July, and surely she was readying herself for a moderate flight to the nearest town to Raccoon Creek State Park‘s Nichol road. For the Fourth of July parade of course. A major holiday here in the United States (commemorating our independence as a nation), she was a Pennsylvania butterfly, flying in a state that takes this holiday . . . very seriously.

Were not her “spangles” or silvery spots on her ventral (undersurface) wing surface reminders of our anthem, The Star Spangled Banner?

Speyeria cybele busily working Asclepias tuberosa on the 4th of July. A sweet sight? No?



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