Some close encounters

Who is this?
This view showing the wings may help you. It’s an Annual Cicada, or Dog-day Harvestfly.

I’ve been seeing more cicadas on the paths during the past week, some alive, some expired.

Note the three small, red, simple eyes in the center of this cicada’s “forehead.”

Not as close as the cicada, but close enough…

A Long-tailed Skipper nectars on lantana.

The “tail” on the butterfly above is usually longer than it appears in the photo. This butterfly may have narrowly escaped being eaten, the predator getting only a portion of the “tail” not the butterfly itself. The tail is actually an extension of the wings like the tails on a swallowtail butterfly.

This view shows off the blue scales on the body and inner portion of the wings.
Two Large Milkweed Bugs mate on the seed pod that the female will most likely lay her eggs upon.

It won’t be long before we see tiny red nymphs crawling all over the Butterfly Weed plant pictured above.

And finally…

A Viceroy appears to be attempting to extract some sort of nurishment from these seeds.


2 responses to Some close encounters

  1. judy Overby says:

    I’ve had a number of Long-tailed Skippers on my lantana this year, the first year I’ve ever seen them. They are such beautiful little butterflies and easy to get close enough for a macro but I’ve noticed unless they’re in the sunlight you can’t see the lovely iridescent quality on their wings. It seems to me I’ve seen more butterflies this year and a larger variety of species.

    • Greg Dodge says:

      Hey Judy,
      The numbers of these skippers fluctuates year to year. To quote Richard Stickney here at the Museum back in August, “We’ve also had more Long-Tailed Skippers than ever before…” so it seems like it may be an up year for them.
      I can remember when I first moved to NC. I took a trip down to the coast and while walking through the streets of South Port, which has an abundance of lantana planted in, seemingly, everyone’s front yard, I was overwhelmed by the number of L-t Skippers that I saw. Of course, on the coast you almost always see more L-t Skippers than here in the Piedmont.
      And yes, they are a neat butterfly.

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