Butterflies and Turtles?

Angela Carter Examining Spotted Turtle (in Trap) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lawrence Woods Reserve, Ohio

Butterflies and Botany brought us to Prairie Road Fen, Clark County, Ohio. Once parked, we followed the demure trail, and soon entered onto the boardwalk. It followed the contour of the small creek. Rich, diverse plant life bordered our boardwalk path. Angela, Janet and I saw diverse plants, orchids and butterflies all along the way. This Reserve is of great interest to the state of Ohio, and you could see many examples of the attention that was given to the conservation of this prized wetland.

The butterflies and moths were aplenty. Orchids and moths seemed to be swept to ‘the wayside’ when Angela and Janet spotted those traps. Set about by Ohio researchers, many of the traps contained adult Spotted Turtles. My trail companions must love spotted turtles, for they could not get enough looks at them. The turtles, seemingly comfortable and at peace in their temporary shelters, cooperated, looking cute, important and very dependent on the good efforts of Ohio. Angela here examines one of the spotted turtles. That week in western and southern Ohio convinced me that Ohio is exemplary in its efforts to protect wildlife, flora and fauna.

I travel to Ohio to see butterflies, familiar and lifers ( Northern Metalmark, Edwards Hairstreak) and see, I also enjoy revisiting spotted turtles, for the second time in my rich life. Bonanza? Bonus?

June 2017.


Viceroy Butterfly Resting

Viceroy Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lawrence Woods Reserve

Monarchs, especially female Monarchs can be seen doing it. Seeking high grasses, and stopping deep in them, to rest for good stretches of time. This butterfly here is a Viceroy. That meandering rim of black that courses across the hind wings is the first assurance that it’s a Viceroy. We were working the trail edge through Lawrence Woods Reserve in Ohio, and that wetland trail was rich in butterflies, especially those keen on wetland habitat. Viceroys stay close to willows, and willows prefer the guaranteed wetness of wetlands.

Monarchs, Viceroys, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and Wood Nymph butterflies, all can be found resting, hiding in the high grasses of meadows and wetlands. Many a time when I see one securely tucked away in high green, I wonder. Is this behavior the result of conscious decision making by that butterfly or is what you see before you the mechanical response to prescribed behavior determined by genetic programming?

When I earned my BS in Biology, we were nowhere near even asking this kind of question. Are we much ahead of that curve now?