While we walked through Starved Rock State Park we came across this oh, so cute caterpillar. It was moving rapidly down the length of a rail making it a challenge to photograph. This is when I’m grateful for digital imagery; I can take multiple images in hopes of a few “good” ones and the cost is no obstacle as it was in the days of using film.
Fortunately, I did not choose to hold this fuzzy fellow. It was the larva of the American Dagger Moth (Acronicta americana). If I’d known the name I would have thought twice about its cuddly appearance. The decorative black spikes are its defense containing a poisonous liquid that quickly causes irritation and swelling when it touches one’s skin. So, if you see this fellow, look but don’t touch!
My macro lens is one of my favorites because with its use I have permission to stare at others. I can spend time intimately observing the tiny, abundant insect communities that most often are ignored. Sometimes I am surprised when my camera captures details and subjects that were unnoticed by me. This image is a prime example of such recorded evidence. I was focused on the Comma butterfly. I saw the one fly above the butterfly. I did not see the one below. And I absolutely did not realize the “spots” on the adjacent leaf were alive!
So much goes on around us all the time that is oblivious to us. Such findings make me keenly aware that my ability to see the world and make sense of it continually needs practice. This is true with people as well as nature.
I don’t think of butterflies playing peek-a-boo, but this one caught my attention!
Brilliant blooming colors in abundance successfully camouflaged a multitude of tropical butterflies. Butterfly World in Florida’s Coconut Creek is all that the name implies plus more. It could just as aptly be named Butterfly, Bird and Bloom World. The Piano Key or a related “long wing” (Heliconius Melpomene or Heliconius Erato) butterfly here has lighted on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia). These two butterfly species often crossbreed, so I am unsure of this one’s specific identity.
For more information check out:
- Butterfly Jungle’s blog: http://thebutterflyjungle.blogspot.com/2011/07/piano-key-butterfly.html
- Butterfly World: http://butterflyworld.com
Enjoying my resumption of photography, capturing flowers and the tiny things found with them. No details today, other than to share these were captured in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) is the chosen food of Monarch butterflies. Eggs are laid on the plant and larva feast on the leaves. Much has been reported on the loss of habitat for Monarchs including this Milkweed, not to be confused with the orange blooming Butterfly Milkweed (asclepias tuberosa). Loss of habitat has led to dramatically reduced populations of these wonderful creatures.
This Common Milkweed plant attracted me with its delicate fluffy seeds that had recently burst out of several pods. They always remind me of one segment of the Disney movie, Fantasia. As I focused on the seeds, I noticed a few brightly colored Milkweed Bugs. Several moments later, I realized the “brown” pod above the seeds was actually a community of Milkweed Bugs on one pod. The Milkweed Butterfly has left this northern area and begun its 3000-mile migration to Mexico, while the Milkweed Bug enjoys the remaining spoils of this host plant.