Monday, May 21, 2012

Butterflies are Free....

Variegated Fritillary butterfly
Well, perhaps not free, but they are periodically plentiful at certain times.  I am a bad gardener in the sense that I don't pay a lot of attention under normal circumstances to the butterflies in my garden, although I do give occasional thought to selecting native plants and other plants that will attract them. 

Pipevine Swallowtail
The recent bloom of my 'Blizzard' Mockorange and 'Globemaster' Alium coincided to lure in the butterflies like.....well, like flies. The Pipevine Swallowtail at the left, however, preferred the hillside of Purple-Leaf Honeysuckle for its evening meal.  I took all eight of the different pictures within about 1/2 hour one evening.  Identifying them took much longer. 

Painted Lady butterfly
I'm not very good at identifying them, but I've made my best attempt here and I owe any accuracy strictly to a 1991 Emporia State University publication titled 'The Kansas School Naturalist, Vol 37, #4;  Checklist of Kansas Butterflies. Better experts like GaiaGardener (whose previous posts stimulated me to take a look at my own butterflies) will have to check my identifications carefully. 

Dogface Butterfly
The phrase "Butterflies are free, and so are we" is a line from the theme song to a 1972 movie that was also named Butterflies Are Free. It was one of the first movie roles for beautiful actress Goldie Hawn, memorable to a young teenager primarily for the glimpse of the panty-clad gluteus maximus of the then-young and still just-as-gorgeously-perky Ms. Hawn.  Beauty, indeed, exists in all creatures of God.

Checkered White butterfly
I suppose if you are going to visit a white Mockorange near two colonies of insect-eating Purple Martins, you would be best served to be mostly white yourself, invisible, as long as you stand still.

Virginia Lady butterfly
Some butterflies show signs of being the worst for wear, even though the season is early.  Battle-scarred and missing limbs, the goal of life remains the same; leave behind another generation, and you've done your duty for your species.

The identification of many butterflies seems to hinge on pretty small differences and sometimes, judging by the pictures posted on the WWW, it is important to know the regional differences in color intensity and patterns that may exist.  The "skippers" group defeated me in my attempts to identify the butterfly at the right.

Red Admiral butterfly
I am only a novice here in a foreign land filled by fairy-like aerial wraiths, but I will undoubtedly return again, lured by the ephemeral nature of the prey and the rich legacy of the field.  And maybe, just because I like being able to spot a brief blur and proclaim it "Red Admiral", a regal-sounding name if ever one existed.


  1. Beautiful butterflies! Thanks for posting them. My only question on identification is southern dogface compared to orange sulfur - but you saw the butterfly in person. Either way, I would say that the individual is a female, due to the spotted dark margin.

    I learned a little more about telling the Painted Lady apart from the American Painted (Virginia) Lady as I studied your photos, too. From the top (dorsal) view, there seem to be 2 main ways to tell the species apart: 1. the spots along the rear margin are separate in the Painted Lady and blurred together in the Virginia Lady, and 2. on the forewing, the tiny white spot about halfway back, near the margin - it's on black in the Painted Lady (or non-existent) and on orange in the Virginia Lady.

    I'm learning about these guys as fast as I can, thanks to butterfly guides and the web, but my identification skills are rudimentary at best. (Thanks, though, for the vote of confidence!)

  2. I think I've got to go with Southern Dogface for that one due to the upper wing(?) and center shading. But lordy Gaia....female? I haven't learned them parts yet.

  3. Oh hey there!

    So, I wanted to give a bit of a correction. :)
    The last butterfly is not a skipper, it is a moth.
    I don't remember its name, but all I know is that it is a moth. :P


    1. Well, I'm not an expert. Every butterfly is a moth, but not every moth is a butterfly. A


Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...