Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Not the orange patch on the ventral hindwing near the base of the tails, but a red! What a pretty butterfly, discovered smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh in the outdoor gardens of the world renowned Phipps Conservatory.

Strymon melinus appears in several of our posts. We’re not sure of the gender of this individual. We do know that like all Gray Hairstreaks it, for its own reasons, will pose motionless, thankfully. With tails intact, this lovely Hairstreak exhibits orange tipped antennae, red patches, and handsome gray coloration.

Enjoy our other Gray Hairstreak posts.

Jeffrey

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterfly photographed at Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

Shouldn’t she have already left Pittsburgh and be in West Virginia or Kentucky? It’s September 22nd and our Danaus plexippus is methodically nectaring on tall verbena flower heads in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory.

Smart lady. Surrounded by expansive beds of verbena, zinnias, asters and more, she is preparing for the long flight ahead.

How fortunate is she to have little to fear from the animals about that would otherwise prey on such a vulnerable prey. Our recent Monarch butterfly post discusses why she has little to fear and why that is.

So there she is. It is likely that she has mated and already deposited her eggs on carefully chosen Asclepias (milkweed) plants.

She probably arrived safely in Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana. Which was her destination? I defer to our blog visitors from NABA (North American Butterfly Association) or Xerces Society for their Comments.

Did she, or was it her progeny that crossed to Gulf of Mexico and flew into Mexico? Again, Hmmmm.

What we do know is that she is vivacious!

For me, this opportunity and this image represent serendipity!

Jeffrey

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary shot at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), North Carolina

They are just spectacular. This one is resting before it continues its search for nectaring passionflowers.

They are very abundant in our Southeast. This morning at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge I saw many Gulf Fritillaries.

I once spotted one in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh! That was more than 10 years ago. It was hundreds of miles north of its usual range. Hmmm! The previous months had been warmer and drier than usual and the Outdoor Gardens featured Passionflower. So does that explain the appearance of a Southern butterfly in the North?

That’s what I love about what I do. You never, never know what you’ll see next.

When you study this photo of one of the most beautiful butterflies in the U.S., what do you think about?

Jeffrey