We found him in a meadow on Pigeon Mountain. We were in the northwestern corner or Georgia, the Georgia mountains, close to Cloudland Canyon State Park. He was basking in the warming early morning sun. Butterflies, especially male butterflies benefit from the morning sun’s comforting warmth, enabling them to begin flying at top speeds, rather than seeing them up to risk reduced speed, and probable predators.
This male Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly is a handsome Lep, and one that stands out from those I’ve known these last decades. Those I’ve seen in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio. Toronto, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware had orange Spots on the trailing edges of their dorsal (upper) hindwings. He lacks those orange spots.
Is he alone is not having dorsal hindwing orange spots? Do all of the Eastern Tailed-Blues of the Georgia Mountains and nearby Tennessee lack them? The Western Tailed-Blues have them, but they now are found some 1,700 miles west of Pigeon Mountain.
I ‘grew-up’ on Wood Nymph butterflies. They were among the butterflies I saw most often back in the 1990’s when I took to this pursuit gangbusters. They were abundant in Doak field (meadow) and the forest edges surround Doak.
I counted them among my favorites at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Why? In the mid-1990’s I took a several day outdoors course at Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania. There, near lake’s edge, I saw a Wood Nymph butterfly with screamin’ baby blue in its forewing eyes, that surrounded by a large field of butter-yellow. I saw it, but minutes later, after following it, I had not a single image. I wanted an image of such a Wood Nymph, and I have come close. Try to approach a Wood Nymph, and you’re more than likely to be treated rudely, very rudely.
This one here, seen in July 2018 at Cloudland Canyon State Park in very northwestern Georgia counts as one of my first southern Wood Nymphs. True to form, I had to bloodhound this one, until finally, one of us cried ‘Uncle’ and we agreed to take a moment’s rest, just so long as we both kept our ‘word.’
The blue pupils in the forewing ‘eyes’ are replaced here with tiny white ones. All the 3 ‘eyes’ seen on the lower wing surfaces have those white pupils. The yellow washes of the northern Wood Nymphs are a bit smaller, and less intensely yellow.
I think that they are still among my favorites, still.