It was lunchtime at Bensten-Rio Grande State Park in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas, a handful of miles from the Mexican border. John beckoned me over to see a butterfly I’d never seen before. Those 5 days, Christmas Week, were . . . amazing. In New York, in Pittsburgh and in Georgia, the last week of December? Zero butterflies. Here in the LRGV, many, many butterflies, with many rare and not often seen, or nearly never seen.
Looked up into that tree, and Bingo!! John had been there before, and he’d seen the butterfly on the left/center, a female Pavon Emperor. And lookee there, on the upper right, a feasting female Queen butterfly.
I’ve now met 4 Emperor butterflies: the Hackberry Emperor, the Tawny Emperor, the Empress Leila and now the Pavon Emperor.
Christmas week in the LRGV? Oh My Goodness! Sunny and in the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and what, thousands of butterflies?
Jeff photographs thousands of butterflies, and every now and again his youthful curiosity is raised. Every so often he sees something, and wants to know why?
This Eastern Commas butterfly was seen at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in town, in Eatonton, Georgia. It was spotted with its wings were fully extended, early on a summer morning, while it rested on a flat leaf. I looked, and looked and wondered. Why was this Comma, just now out of its chrysalis, so heavily black on much of its hindwings? Why?
One guess, of mine, is that when it flies amidst summer greenery, the black areas of its wings hide it well, in the reduced light of the deep forest, that forest much darkened by the many leaves of the trees above. The ‘red form’ Commas fly when there are few leaves on trees, and a blackened rump area would only make them more easily spotted by predators.
And what do you think?