06 April 2010

A few bugs of the Final Four

... or at least a few butterflies.

Heidi and I made it down to San Antonio to help support the women's basketball team of Baylor University. While the freshman and sophomore weighted Bears lost to the University of Connecticut's experienced basketball machine that quite possibly is the best of all time we had a blast at the NCAA Final Four held in the Alamodome.

We also visited a property north of San Antonio in Guadalupe County. Much of the state is in the lull between the first arrivals of individual avian migrant species and the throngs of the rest yet to come; however, butterflies have really begun to emerge the past couple of weeks. This proved true for us late one morning on our way back north to Central Texas.

One of my favorite butterfly species is Chlosyne lacinia or Bordered Patch. We encountered at least 15 individuals of this species on our walk through the property.

The above shows a female Bordered Patch giving a "flutter response" to a male.
For the wikipedia entry on Ultraviolet Communication click HERE.

Many butterfly species are sexually dimorphic.
Some species are distinctly dimorphic in coloration. While others may be less so, with perhaps just a slight difference in size. The latter is often the case, like the Bordered Patch..

and Phyciodes graphica, the Vesta Crescent pictured below

Sometimes the differential is so minute, you just have to be there.

Anyways, the following list comprised the butterfly species we came across on 5 April 2010 that late morning and early afternoon in Guadalupe County, TX:

Nathalis iole, Dainty Sulphur, numerous
Phyciodes graphica, Vesta Crescent, ~10
Phyciodes phaon ,Phaon Crescent, 1
Battus philenor, Pipevine Swallowtail
Vanessa virginiensis, American Lady
Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral
Chlosyne lacinia, Bordered Patch
Atalopedes campestris, Sachem, 1 fem
Zerene cesonia, Southern Dogface
Anaea andria, Goatweed Leafwing, still several of these out though a number are getting worn
Callophrys gryneus, Juniper Hairstreak, 1
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary, 1
Erynnis funeralis, Funereal Duskywing
Pyrgus communis/albescens, Common/White Checkered-Skipper
Colias eurytheme, Orange Sulphur
Celotes nessus, Common Streaky-Skipper
Venessa cardui, Painted Lady
Strymon melinus, Gray Hairstreak
Papilio glaucus, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Pieris rapae, Cabbage White

We've had so much precipitation this winter that things should only get better as the year progresses.

Heidi and I have a shared favorite; a distinctive little bug of parts of the southwest:

Celotes nessus, Common Streaky-Skipper

The psychedelic patterning of spots and linear arrays give it an almost crinkled appearance. In many places, sometimes with mottled shade, this patterning nearly completely breaks up its shape. This may cause a casual observer or predator to wonder where that little bug, or snack, disappeared to.

In these photos, the skipper tends to stand out. Then again, we know where this one is within the frame and we are talking about it. One does wonder at times, when the insect is re-found, how one ever lost sight of it in the first place. Its patterning stands out so.

If you are down in this part of the continent, you may have just walked by one.
We only found two over several hours this day. Our usual less-than-frequent encounter is generally with a single individual.

The streaky-skipper was a nice little anniversary bug for us on the way back home from our weekend.


  1. I haven't looked at your blog for a while. I love lots of it, but had to compliment your streaky skipper. Not gaudy in color, but just as fantastic as the gaudiest colorful lep in it's own way. Hope you two are doing well!

  2. The fact that it is one of our smallest skippers w/o the "-ling" in the common name adds somewhat to its cloak-and-dagger disappearing deception.

    We are doing well, Kelly. Though always on the lookout for the next, and preferably long-term gig.

    Golden-cheeks still exist.. ;-) Makes me wonder if any of "ours" are still singing.

    The Western Soapberries have some larvae on them. Eagerly awaiting the one-brooders. Falcate Orangetips are already gone for the season.

    We hope ALL the Jones are well.

    Thanks for stopping by.