It's been a great summer for butterflies, both in my garden and in the wetlands I explore by kayak. Here are the species I've photographed thus far. 

Giant Swallowtail. Noticeably wider wingspan than a Tiger Swallowtail. Formerly found only in souther states but moving north with warmer seasons climate change is bringing.

Common Wood Nymph. Two eyespots on forewing are flicked when the butterfly takes off. This is thought to startle attacking bird predators.

Tiger Swallowtail. Note the beautiful "swallow tail" on the hindwing. Photo also shows the proboscis, or drinking hose, siphoning nectar from butterfly weed, a lovely native plant.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell. Antennae on a butterfly such as this one are shaped like the old-fashioned "rabbit ears" antennae used on televisions in the '50s and '60s. Moth antennae are feathery.

Great Spangled Fritillary. In late summer, red clover provides an important source of nectar to butterflies. Spangles on the Great Spangled show up well here.

Spotted Skipper. There are dozens of skipper species, but none looks like this one: much larger than the others, with a distinctive white wing spot. 

Black Swallowtail. Photographed from the kayak, this is Pickerel Weed at a wetland edge. Nectar of this plant is coveted by many insects. Note bee departing at lower right.

Monarch. Although Monarchs lay eggs only on Milkweed, they drink nectar from numerous flowers. In late summer, Bull Thistle is popular.

White Admiral. It seems the only place I see White Admirals in summer is on dirt roads like this one. They extract minerals and salts from the dirt.


Photos by Rick Marsi

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