Crescent Craziness

Crescent Butterfly (Pearl or Phaon ?), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rock Hawk, Georgia

I’ve lived in New York City and I’ve worked in the heart of it, Manhattan. Before 9:00 A.M., at lunch time, and after 5 P.M. the sidewalks are packed with tens of thousand of people. Before 9:00 in the morning and after 5 in the afternoon, the subways too are packed, moving hundreds of thousands of folks each and every minute. Examining this image of a Crescent butterfly, I was reminded that when I was back in New York, everyone looked different to me. That was helpful when I taught, when I managed real estate and when I served in the New York National Guard.

This tiny little Crescent butterfly chose to stop and rest in front of me, on the nature trail at Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails in Eatonton, Georgia. Named for the rock formation that was revered by ancient Native Americans, the trail takes you through mixed woods, in the Piedmont region of central Georgia.

When I compare this with the images and descriptions in field guides, that’s when Crescent craziness challenges. We’re in the Deep South, so that creamy yellow forewing band on each wing suggests Phaon Crescent. Other upper wing patterns, and the orange club tip of the antennae remind that Pearl Crescents can vary widely in appearance. I want to say that this is a Phaon, but my cautious side says female, Pearl.

Didn’t have such dilemmas in the Big Apple. Could always tell one person from the next. Butterflies vex, offering a wide spectrum of nuanced color, pattern and detail variations.