Category Archives: Insects

Brown and Orange Butterflies

The Chrysanthemums were a little past their prime but these butterflies and other insects didn’t care.

Brown and Orange
Common Buckeye Butterfly – click on photo for larger view

This garden has a path around the perimeter that winds up a hill to what was a farm. Passing by a foot or so below this garden bed made the butterfly action easier to see and photograph.

Brown and Orange
Painted Lady Butterfly (?), sharing with a bee – click on photo for larger view

October 20, 2017, Arlington House Gardens, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

September Gulf Fritillaries

I’ve seen a few Gulf Fritillaries around as recently as last week. In September they were everywhere you looked. These images were taken on the Morris Island end of Folly Beach where they were cavorting around in the flowers growing in the sand.

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary

Although they fly about independently, if one butterfly finds something good another will soon follow.

Gulf Fritillaries
Gulf Fritillaries

They seemed OK at sharing if there were two vying for the same spot, and can hardly push each other around the way birds might do.

Gulf Fritillaries
Gulf Fritillaries

September 9, 2017, Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.

Smithsonian Gardens: Monarch Butterfly

The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden is on the on the eastern border of the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building just a few steps from the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

A Monarch Butterfly had plenty of choices even in October. He was carefully working this orange pom-pom plant (not its real name, unless I’m really lucky) when I passed by.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

I’m always amazed at how delicate butterfly’s legs, antennae and proboscis are. This sturdy flower held up well to  the poking and prodding.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

This garden was full of color and textures as well as other amazed tourists basking in the garden’s beauty.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

There were a number of Monarch and Gulf Fritillary butterflies feeding in one of Charleston’s “hidden” alleys yesterday afternoon.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

This pair was mating on the old cobblestone. A few tourists passed by at full speed and the butterflies were fortunate not to get stepped on.

Monarch Butterflies Mating
Monarch Butterflies Mating

Just above this scene behind a wall a plant with a glorious plume of red was attracting Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, and a few small insects.

Monarch Butterflies
Monarch Butterflies and one Gulf fritillary

Theses butterflies were too busy to line up for a group shot.

Monarch Butterflies
Monarch Butterflies

Click on any photo for larger view.

Long Tailed Skipper

I was busy watching the Roseate Spoonbills across the pond when this fellow grabbed my attention almost at my feet.

Long Tailed Skipper
Long Tailed Skipper

He was busy probing the most delicate flowers all the while showing off his luminous blue-green colors.

Long Tailed Skipper
Long Tailed Skipper

Skippers tend to hold their wings together more than butterflies and I didn’t get a full spread shot.

Long Tailed Skipper
Long Tailed Skipper

Long-tailed Skipper, Urbanus proteus, click any photo for larger view.

More of the Orb-Weaver Spider

I took this series of photos of the Orb-Weaver Spider just before the single shot that I posted on August 23.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view

Seen at rest most of the time, these spiders can move with speed when lunch is involved, which is what caught my eye.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

The web threads change color with the light, but this day they also had a yellowish coating that may have been pollen. It had just rained and there were a lot of wild flowers growing along the boardwalk.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

Hanging on to her web from her hind legs she used the other legs to manipulate her catch. Other ensnared insects appeared to float in front of the web.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

At one point she was dangling.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click photo for larger view and to see thread being spun

For reference, the entire web was about 3 feet across and that dangling fly was the size of a common house fly.

Powdery Alligator-flag and Friend

I spotted what I now know is a frond of Powdery Alligator-flag (Thalia dealbata) on a walk around the swamp last week. I took a few photographs because of the interesting color and texture. If I had seen the green insect at the time, possibly a member of the katydid family, I would have maneuvered closer for some additional shots.

Powdery alligator-flag and friend
Powdery alligator-flag and friend – click on photo for larger view

I had revisited this plant after my May post with a visiting bee and continued to find it unremarkable throughout the summer. Evidently insects find it more attractive.

Orb-Weaver Spider Weaving Lunch

Quite a few of the Orb-Weaver Spiders have built their webs at an angle to the board walk headed to the swamp making side view photographs a possibility.  It was fascinating to watch this one pluck a fly or bee from the web and then what seemed to be wrapping it in silk.

Golden Silk Orb-weaver
Golden Silk Orb-weaver – click on the photo for a larger view. Zoom in to the center to see the silk attachment from the web

There were some other insects dangling from similar wrappings nearby. These spiders seem much larger than last summer’s crop, but that may be my imagination, or Ted’s, playing tricks on me.

Butterflies

We have seen very few butterflies this summer compared to last year. All insects are sensitive to changes in the weather and climate and in addition to global climate changes, locally the weather has been wetter and stormier than last year. It is hard to know how or if these factors affect what we observe with a two year comparison.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

I watched the Swallowtail flit up and down the berm around an old rice field, always just out of reach of a shot. Then he landed in the road and took a stroll, with short and dainty steps. A photo of him on a flower or in flight would have been nice, but the plain background does set him off.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly

Click on either photo for larger view.

Close Up Insects

This was my first outdoor try shooting insects with Macro Lenses on my 18-200mm lens.  There is nothing like actually doing something to find out the challenges: a slight breeze, flower stems that swayed when even the smallest insect landed on them, following the insect through the view finder at full zoom…

Dragon Fly Closeup
Dragon Fly Closeup

…the shock of seeing this beast when you were expecting a bee!

Insect Closeup
Insect Closeup

I have no idea what this is but it was huge. Appearing to hang on for dear life, it didn’t appear to show any other interest in the flower.

Insect Closeup
Insect Closeup

This bee appears similar to the one featured in my post “A Yellow Fur Jacket” at the end of May, this time on a prettier flower.  There were many buzzing around and  generally did not stay put long enough for me to focus and shoot.

Insect Closeup
Insect Closeup

Overall I was pleased. A second try last week didn’t work out as well with the insects even less cooperative on a day that was too hot to be trying something new.

Click on any photo for larger view.