A Widow, Mourning Cloaks, Pugs, and Hairstreaks

A Widow Skimmer (dragonfly) was seen in Catch the Wind on 24 May for the first sighting of the species this season. This sighting was a week or so earlier than last year’s first occurrence (see Widow Skimmer, Explore the Wild Journal, June 1-15, 2008).

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen at least one, often more, fresh Mourning Cloaks flying about on each day that I was on site. Could these fresh butterflies be the results of the colony of Mourning Cloak Caterpillars seen on May 8th munching away on an elm tree near the entrance to Explore the Wild (see Mourning Cloak, Explore the Wild Journal, May 1-15, 2009)? I think so.

Larva of the Dogbane Saucrobotys Moth

Two moth caterpillars made the list of interesting insects this period. Dogbane Saucrobotys Moth, on the Dogbane growing near the entrance to the Lemur House, and Common Pug, or Common Eupithecia. Dogbane Moth caterpillars are found on dogbane and milkweeds. There’s usually a group of these caterpillars present wherever they’re found, concealed within a silken web.

Common Pug

The Pug is a tiny caterpillar that supposedly takes on the coloration of the flower it’s consuming at the time. I’ve found them in both a white and yellow color pattern on the daisies in Catch the Wind (daisies are white and yellow). You should, however, have a look at this.

Some of the butterflies seen this period were Juniper Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, and I thought that I saw a Great Spangled Fritillary zip by while I sat at the Bird Feeder Exhibit on Memorial Day.

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