Butterflies: seeing double

Provided one doesn’t feel like a peeping tom, photographing butterflies is often easiest while they are mating. It is a prolonged process, indeed sometimes they fly around while conjoined, but not surprisingly they prefer to stay put.

This summer I have seen three species that I haven’t identified before.

First, the Viceroy, Limenitis archippus (or Basilarcia archippus). Perfectly named, because it is a deliberate copy of the Monarch. Monarchs are poisonous, but Viceroys are not. Their nearly identical color and patterning deceives birds into leaving them alone too.


The Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele,  has silvery dots on the underwing, alluded to in its common name. I think it looks like a little girl’s party dress.  They are seen here mating in late June, but they then disappear, and reappear to lay their eggs in late August or September on violet leaves.

Great Spangled Fritillary

The Inornate Ringlet, Coenonympha tulle inornata,  has a very unflattering name, and I can’t work out why. Possibly because the eye marking on the wing is faint instead of dramatic??

Inornate Ringlet

In this era when the climate is changing, we expect to find species moving northwards, but this butterfly has been moving south from Canada. The first ones in Maine were seen in 1968, and now they are abundant all the way down to Massachusetts.

Finding each other out there in the fields and forests isn’t easy, but these six have done it.  Happy days.


3 thoughts on “Butterflies: seeing double”

  1. Camera in hand, Moira covers much land…always at the ready! Awesome photos! A few years ago, I ‘captured’ 2 Black Swallow Tails, ‘doing the wild thing,’ as my young son used to say.


  2. Beautiful butterflies! And fabulous photos. Greetings from the Engadine where it’s been cold. 8 C degrees this morning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: