Sunday, November 10, 2013

October Butterfly Monitoring

Our two groups headed out on October 18, 2013.   As usual, one group rides in an ATV to reach the transects B, C and D along the trails.  The other group surveys the Transect A  on foot (from the Environmental Education Center past the dam to the trailhead).  
As we walked along the marsh, we observed a truck towing an ATV and thought - could that be our group's vehicle, and are they stranded in the hammock somewhere?  
In Transect A, we counted a total of 91 butterflies including a White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae), eleven Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia), four Painted Ladies, (Vanessa cardui) all in the family of Brush foots (Nymphalidae). We counted a variety of Skippers: Salt Marsh skipper, Long-tailed skipper and several smaller skippers that we had to document as “unknown”.  It was a breezy day, they were not landing for more than a few seconds at a time, and we were not able to catch up with them!     All skippers are Family Hesperiidae.
American Lady
Painted Lady

We took time to identify the Painted Ladies in comparison to the American Lady and the Red Admiral.
Red Admiral

Also in transect A we observed an Orange Sulphur (Colias eurythemeof the family Pieridae.  Although we have seen these in past years,  this species has not previously been discussed in this blog.  The subfamily for Sulphurs is Coliadinae.  Their wing span is 1 3/8 - 2 3/4 inches. The male upperside is yellow with orange overlay, yellow veins, wide black border, and a dark black cell spot. The female is yellow or white with an irregular black border surrounding light spots. There is a silver spot with 2 concentric dark rings, and a spot above it on the underside hindwing.
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Adults nectar from many kinds of flowers including dandelion, milkweeds, goldenrods, and asters.
Caterpillar hosts are plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), white clover (Trifolium repens), and white sweet clover (Melilotus alba).
Wing scales located on the dorsal wing surfaces in males contain ridges with lamellae that produce iridescent ultraviolet reflectance.
Females preferentially mate with males whose wings reflect ultraviolet light. Studies have suggested that this trait was the strongest and most informative predictor of male courtship success. 

Ceraunus Blue
In August, we noted that a Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus, Lycaenidae family) was identified in comparison to Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) of the same family: the Ceraunus has a single eyespot on the submarginal hind wing, whereas the Cassius has two spots.  
Today we spotted another Ceraunus and were reminded that sometimes the single spot identification is not reliable (wings may be worn) The “Zebra stripes” on the Cassuis’ wings is a better indicator.
Cassius Blue 
As we headed back toward the Environmental Education Center we saw our Trail Transect group walking back along the dirt road.  Yes that was their ATV that was being towed earlier.  Thanks to all volunteers but especially to those who stayed to return to the trails to complete the survey in the afternoon!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Summer Butterfly Monitoring

After a rainy, hurricane-free summer, there were a variety of butterfly species observed on September 18, 2013.  
Southern Broken-dash
Southern Broken-dash
In Transect A  (from the Environmental Education Center to the trailhead), 29 Salt Marsh skippers and 18 Long-tailed skippers were observed, as well as other less frequently seen skippers:  Southern Broken-Dash (1), Fiery (4), Ocola (4), Sachem (4), and Delaware (6). 
Zarucco and Southern Skipperling were seen in Transects C and B.  
All skippers are Family Hesperiidae. 
The Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) can be identified by the following criteria: The upperside of male is brown with a few orange or red-oranges patches and a two-part black stigma (the "broken dash"). The female upperside is dark brown with pale orange spots.  The underside of the hindwing in both sexes is orange or red-orange and has a band of pale spots.  Males perch on vegetation within 2 feet of the ground to watch for females, usually in the early morning. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plants, which include Paspalum and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum).  Caterpillars live in nests of silk-tied leaves; when they come out to eat they carry a piece of leaf over themselves for protection.
Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan)
The Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan) has wings that are bright yellow-orange with a wing span of 1 - 1 3/4 inches. The upperside has black borders and black veins near the margins; the forewing has a black bar at the end of the cell. Females have wider borders and darker markings than males. The underside has no markings but may have darker orange veins.  Adults nectar from pink and white flowers including swamp and common milkweeds, marsh fleabane, sweet pepperbush, buttonbush, thistles, and pickerelweed.
Their habitat requires moist areas which may include marshes, prairies, fields, roadsides, suburban yards.
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
The upperside of the male Sachem
 (Atalopedes campestris) is yellow-orange with a wide brown border and a large squarish black stigma. The female upperside varies from yellow-brown to very dark brown, but always has a square transparent white spot at the end of the forewing cell. The underside of the female hindwing is brown with nearly square cream or white spots. Their wing span is 1 1/2 inches.  Females lay single eggs on dry grass blades in the afternoon. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live at the base of grasses in shelters of rolled or tied leaves.  Caterpillar hosts are grasses including Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum).  Adults nectar from flowers including milkweeds, buttonbush, dogbane, peppermint, red clover, tickseed sunflower, thistles,  marigold, and asters.
White Peacock

Four of those attractive White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) butterflies of the family Nymphalidae were also seen in Transect A.
This butterfly is pictured on the cover of "Butterflies Through Binoculars" by Jeffrey Glassberg, Marc Minno and John Calhoun.
The White Peacock has a wingspan of up to 2.75  inches.  The caterpillar of the white peacock butterfly eats water hyssop. Adults like Plumbago flower nectar. Their favorite habitat is is wide open land.  

In the afternoon we hosted 16 volunteers and two staff members from the Florida Museum of Natural History Butterfly Rainforest / University of Florida.  They enjoyed a powerpoint presentation by Rick Edwards of his own photographs of butterflies observed at the GTM NERR.  All of these photos were taken during our monthly FBMN surveys.  
The visitors were also treated to a walk of our Transect A along the Guana River estuary.   
Kudos to our volunteers who helped to provide this experience on a hot September afternoon!

After a few days of scattered heavy rain and winds, on August 20 we were fortunate to see a variety of butterfly species, although few in number of each species were observed (a total of only 40 butterflies of eighteen different species).  We welcomed a new member of the group Liz Rourke, and we thank her for providing the photos below of skippers and a little blue seen in Transect A. 
Photographing butterflies requires patience but it is certainly rewarding!

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Of the family Hesperiidae, the Fiery Skipper has short antennae and a wing span of 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches.  They nectar from the flowers of aster, swamp milkweed, thistle, sweet pepperbush and ironweed. 
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus)
Of the family Hesperiidae, the Little Glassywing can be found in moist places near shaded wood edges. Adults prefer to nectar from white, pink, and purple flowers including dogbane, selfheal, peppermint, and common and swamp milkweeds. Yellow flowers are visited when others are unavailable..

The Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus, Lycaenidae family) is identified in comparison to Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) of the same family: the Ceraunus has a single eyespot on the submarginal hind wing, whereas the Cassius has two spots.  

We also spotted a single Eastern Pygmy Blue (Brephidium pseudofea) along the edge of the salt marsh near the saltwort and sea oxeye daisies.  This is our smallest butterfly, with a wing span of  less than one inch.

Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima)
On July 22 under clear skies and a light breeze there were a total of 144 butterflies counted, sixteen different species were observed in our transects.

On June 27 we completed our monthly morning surveys, and then after a short lunch break we headed out into the Wildlife Management Area for the annual 4th of July Butterfly survey. 

The Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima) was seen in significant numbers on the trails. Our smallest North American skipper (in the Hesperiidae family), this butterfly has a bright orange elongated forewing with a narrow white ray through the center. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

May 20, 2013 Butterfly Monitoring

Star rush
It was an overcast relatively calm morning and a comfortable 76 degrees, after seeing some heavy rains the previous week.   Along the freshwater marsh, there were blooms everywhere.  Most prolific were the Spiderwort (Tradescantia) with purple flowers, the star rush with white flowers (Rhynchospora colorata) (a.k.a white-top sedge) and the fogfruit Phyla nodiflora (alternately called frogfruit), which was under water but still blooming!
The yellow trail was flooded so we took the upland route to reach the Glasswort (Salicornia) transect at the Intracoastal waterway (transect C). The Swallowwort plant (Cynanchum angustifolium), a native climbing milkweed seen today, attracts the Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) of the Nymphalidae family.  
Queen Butterfly, male
Pine Warbler
We saw one very fresh male, opening and closing his wings  as he rested on a leaf.  There was a Warbler on a branch nearby, and we hoped the bird would stay away from this beautiful butterfly.  The upper side of the Queen butterfly's wings are rich mahogany with black borders enclosing small white spots, lacking black veins. The forewing has numerous small, white spots near the apex. The underside of the hindwing has black veins; black borders of both wings have 2 rows of white spots. The upper side of the male hindwing has a black scale patch. We observed these two black patches on this male. Their wingspan is 2 5/8 - 3 7/8 inches. Larval host plants are milkweeds and milkweed vines. Adults nectar from flowers including milkweeds, fogfruit, and shepherd's needle.

Great Southern White
The Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) of the Pieridae family was observed in transects A and C.  27 were counted in transect A, but only one, near the Intracoastal waterway, in transect C.   This butterfly has distinctive turquoise antennae clubs.  Spanish needle is a favorite nectar plant.
The male is white with a black forewing apex. The female is dirty white to gray with a black forewing apex and a black forewing cell spot. The ventral hindwing is white-yellow in males to gray in females.   Mature larvae are yellow with gray longitudinal stripes and covered in small black spots.  Habitat includes salt marshes and beaches. Larval host plants include  Virginia pepper grass (Lepidium virginicum), saltwort (Batis maritima), and sea rocket (Cakile lanceolata).

At the intracoastal, the GTM NERR Salt Marsh Nursery program is in progress.  This program supplements the Oyster Reef Restoration project.   
We saw several sections of Oyster reef, installed by our dedicated GTM NERR volunteers. For more information about this project, visit

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
An interesting discussion took place about the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) butterfly of the Nymphalidae family: This butterfly was seen last year was but recorded as an unknown. From Rick’s photo shown to Jaret Daniels (who presented the April Butterfly Monitoring lecture), this unknown was positively identified as a Mourning Cloak, a species that has never before been recorded at GTM NERR during our six years of reporting to the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network. It is seen rarely in the Gulf States and peninsular Florida. Adults live 10-11 months and may be our longest lived butterfly. Mourning Cloaks prefer tree sap, especially that of oaks. They walk down the trunk to the sap and feed head downward. They will also feed on rotting fruit, and only occasionally on flower nectar.

One Palamedes SwallowtailPalamedes Papilio of the Papilionidae family and one Horace’s Dusky wing (Erynnis horatius) of the Hesperiidae family were observed in transect D, the Red bay transect.  We were pleased to note that many little red bays are thriving.  One Horace’s was also counted in Transect A.

We saw other wildlife along the soggy trails, including a red fox and a white-tailed deer. 

One Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) of the Lycaenidae family one Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) of the Nymphalidae family and four Dainty Sulphurs (Nathalis iole) of the Pieridae family were seen in transect A, the Dam transect. 
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
A single Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) of the Nymphalidae family was also seen in transect A.  With wingspans from 2.5-3.0", their wings are orange to mahogany with black-outlined veins and black borders enclosing small white spots. The dorsal hindwing with prominent black line through the center. The ventral hindwing is paler orange with more prominent white spots in the black border.  
Carolina willow
Their habitat includes swamps, pond margins, stream corridors, and wet roadside ditches with willows. 
Their larval host plants are willows including Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) and weeping willow (Salix babylonica)  

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 15, 2013 Butterfly Monitoring

Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)
The conditions were damp to wet but mostly clear and calm and 69 degrees when we set out at 9:30 A.M on this spring day. In Transect A (the Dam transect), we counted nine Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon, Nymphalidae family), three Dainty Sulphurs (Nathalis iole), and three Palamedes Swallowtails (Papilio palamedes, Papilionidae family), an equal number of Palamedes in Transect B (the freshwater marsh trail) and twelve Palamedes in Transect D (perhaps because the red bay in this transect appear healthier than last year at this time). Great Southern Whites (Ascia monuste, Pieridae family) were observed in three transects:  fifteen in Transect A, eight in Transect C (the Salicornia transect) and two in Transect D (the upland red bay transect).
We spotted one Monarch (Danaus plexippusNymphalidae family) and ten Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae, Pieridae family) in Transect A,
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
A single Viceroy (Limenitis archippus, Nymphalidae family) was seen in Transect C. The Viola’s Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela, Nymphalidae family) was present again this month - fourteen in Transect D and one in Transect C.

Dusky Pygmy rattlesnake
We are always on the lookout for other wildlife when we search for butterflies; a Six-lined Racerunner lizard (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) was observed. We steered clear of the Dusky Pygmy rattlesnake, (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) which can be found throughout Florida,  This species usually lives near water sources like swamps, marshes and creeks, although it can also be found in forested areas and often lives in gopher tortoise burrows. Adults measure only 15 to 22 inches and the record length is only 31.5 inches. Other common names for the pygmy rattlesnake are “pygmy rattler” and “ground rattler.” Their color is light gray to dark gray with irregular black blotches. There is also a series of reddish brown to orange blotches running down the back that may be more distinct near the head. On some specimens, these spots may be very muted. 
The pupil is vertical (catlike) and there is a deep facial pit between the nostril and the eye.
This snake is a pit viper and although the pygmy’s bite is typically not fatal, it has a predominantly hemotoxic venom that can be extremely painful.

To see the data reporting details, check out the condensed version of our census data on the Volunteer Project Homepage.

Following our expedition, we were treated to a presentation in the GTM NERR Environmental Education Center Auditorium on Florida Butterflies, with Dr. Jaret Daniels, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida and assistant curator of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Biodiversity. Some fascinating facts in the presentation were the relationship of Florida carpenter ants (Camponotus floridanus) to the Miami Blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) and the salt tolerance of the Eastern Pygmy Blue butterfly (Brephidium pseudofea).  
Miami Blue (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) 

Miami Blue butterflies have larval associations with the Florida carpenter ant. Population studies confirm that Miami Blue larvae are tended by these ants in a mutualistic symbiosis. Ants protect the larvae from natural enemies in return for sugar-rich secretions that the larvae produce to attract and retain their ant guards.  In Dr. Daniels’ experiments, Miami Blue larvae raised with Florida Carpenter ants were significantly more likely to pupate in the ant harborage. 
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission added the Miami Blue to the state’s endangered species list in November 2003 providing the impetus for the start of an aggressive conservation and recovery effort. Researchers from the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the University of Florida have successfully reared the Miami blue in captivity. The captive colony has produced more than 22,000 individuals with wild reintroductions into the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. 
We aren’t likely to see the Miami Blue in northeast Florida, but we do see the Eastern Pygmy blue, our smallest butterfly, usually during the hot summer.  Their larvae are able to survive even when completely submerged under the estuarine tides, on their glasswort (salicornia europaea) intertidal salt marsh host plant, which is often under brackish water. 
Dr Daniels’ presentation highlighted the importance of our work and our reporting of data to the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network.  Butterfly census data can be related to scientific studies of climate change, invasive species, and other environmental concerns.  Dr. Daniels praised the dedicated work of our volunteers and the longevity of our involvement in this project. The Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network (FBMN) is a statewide citizen scientist program that trains public volunteers and directly engages university scientists, zoological institution staff members, and conservation land managers in field-based conservation and education targeting butterflies. Established in 2003 by the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the University of Florida in cooperation with Disney's Animal Programs, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI), the FBMN provides a collaborative vehicle to help protect Florida’s dwindling butterfly populations.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 18, 2013 Butterfly Monitoring

Just a few days before the arrival of Spring, our GTM NERR Butterfly Monitoring group headed out under cloudy skies in search of the elusive Lepidoptera.  The name Lepidoptera, derived from the Greek words "lepido" for scale and "ptera" for wings, refers to the flattened scales that cover the body and wings of most adult butterflies. 

The conditions were damp to wet In Transect A (the Dam transect), and we didn't see many butterflies until the sun came out after 11:00 A.M., but we did spot two Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon, Nymphalidae family) resting in the dry grasses, and a Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus, Lycaenidae family). Thistle was blooming among the dry grass. The dam was open and the tide was low, with oysters exposed, so we did see a variety of birds including a white pelican, tricolored heron, a dowitcher, a dunlin, savannah sparrow near the cedar trees, a pied-billed grebe, two lesser scaups on the lake (and a clapper rail in the marsh grass, a secretive marsh bird, heard but not seen.)  After a little sunshine, a Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) , Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin), two Great Southern Whites (Ascia monuste) and two Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole) butterflies were observed. The Dainty Sulphur is the smallest butterfly of the Pieridae family, and has elongated forewings.

 Their wing span is 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches. 
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

The upper side of the wings is yellow with the tip of the fore wing being black. Black bars extend along the trailing edge of the fore wing and the leading edge of the hind wing. The underside of the wings varies depending on the season. Summer individuals have yellowish hind wings whereas winter individuals have greenish-gray hind wings. Both forms have black spots near the forewing margin and have a yellowish-orange patch near the base of the fore wing.
Males patrol a few inches above the ground in low areas for females. Females lay eggs singly on leaves of host plant seedlings. Adults rest with wings closed and held perpendicular to the sun's rays to warm themselves. The caterpillar hosts include low-growing plants in the aster family (Asteraceae)Adults nectar at asters, wild marigold, rabbitbrush, and others.
By comparison, the Little Yellow (Eurema lisa), observed at GTM NERR in February, is larger than the Dainty Sulphur, lacks the dorsal fore wing and hind wing black bars, and on the underside of the fore wing lacks the black spots and the yellowish-orange patch.
Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)

The trail transect volunteers counted ten Palamedes Swallowtails (Papilio palamedes), ten Cloudless Sulphurs, and eight Little Wood Satyrs (Megisto cymela) (a.k.a Viola's Wood Satyr.)

Our next expedition will be on Monday, April 15 at 9:30 A.M. and will be followed by a presentation on Florida Butterflies with Dr. Jaret Daniels, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida and assistant curator of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Biodiversity. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Winter Butterfly Monitoring: December 2012 to February 2012

It was a fairly warm winter at GTM NERR, and during our December, January and February outings we counted several of our year-round butterflies including Phaon Crescents,  Cloudless Sulphurs and Common Buckeyes.

Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)
December 15, 2012: In Transect A (the Dam transect), one Little Yellow, a.k.a. Little Sulphur (Eurema lisa), of the Pieridae family, was observed.

 The wingspan is between 32 and 44 mm. The dorsal view of the forewing has a broad dark margin and the hindwing's ventral view has two basal black spots.  This butterfly is rarely seen at GTM NERR. Adults nectar from flowers in the aster family (Asteraceae) including goldenrods and asters. Larval hosts plants include Partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata) and wild sensitive plant (C. nicitans) in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
Another single butterfly, this one observed in Transect B (the freshwater marsh transect) was the the Checkered White (Pontia protodice) in the family Pieridae
The upper side of the wings are white and marked with black and gray, more so on the female. The underside of the hindwings are marked with extensive yellow-brown veins. The wingspan is 1.25-1.75 inches. Its host plants include broccoli brussel sprouts and cabbage.

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus
A single Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) of the Nymphalidae family was seen in Transect A. The upper side of the wings is chestnut brown; black borders of the forewings have 2 rows of white spots; white spots are scattered at the forewing apex.The underside of the hindwing has black veins; black borders of both wings have 2 rows of white spots. The upper side of the male hindwing has a black scale patch. 
Their wingspan is 2 5/8 - 3 7/8 inches. To find females, males patrol all day. Females lay eggs singly on leaves, stems, and flower buds, which the caterpillars eat. Adults roost communally.
Larval host plants are milkweeds and milkweed vines. Adults nectar from flowers including milkweeds, fogfruit, and shepherd's needle.
Some of the milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators. After tasting a Queen, a predator might associate the bright warning colors of the adult or caterpillar with an unpleasant meal, and avoid Queens in the future.

A single Ocola skipper (Panoquina ocola) of the Hesperiidae family was also seen. This butterfly has forewings projecting far beyond the hindwings when the butterfly is at rest. The upperside of their wings is dark brown;  the underside of the hindwing is brown with no markings; the female has a blue-purple iridescent sheen. Adults nectar from  lantana, spanish needle, milkweed, and buttonbush.

January 28, 2013 was a great day for butterfly monitoring. We saw Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) of the Pieridae family 7 in transect A and 11 in transect B; one Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) of the Nymphalidae family, and also in transect A the elusive Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) of the Nymphalidae family. 
The upper side of the Red Admiral is black with white spots near the apex; forewing with red median band, hindwing with red marginal band. The winter form is smaller and duller, summer form larger and brighter with an interrupted forewing band.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Their wing span is 1 3/4 - 3 inches. The Red Admiral has a very erratic, rapid flight. Males perch, on ridgetops if available, in the afternoon to wait for females, who lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Young caterpillars eat and live within a shelter of folded leaves; older caterpillars make a nest of leaves tied together with silk. Adults hibernate.
Larval host plants of the nettle family (Urticaceae) including stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
Adults nectar on sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit, bird droppings, common milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa.
One White M hairstreak (Parhassius m-album)  of the Lycaenidae family was also seen.
White M hairstreak
(Parhassius m-album)
The adult is 1 1/4 - 1 5/8 inches. It is tailed, with the upperwings iridescent blue with black borders. The underside is grayish brown, with a white postmedian line edged with black and forming a white M near the tail, and a white spot near base of the costa. Compared with the gray hairstreak, white M hairstreaks have an additional white mark on the leading edge of the ventral side of the hindwing, and a stronger "M" mark on the outer corner of the ventral side of the hindwing, and the red-orange spot of the white M hairstreak is more inset from the wing margin. In flight, a flash of brilliant blue can be seen. Typically for other hairsteaks, the hindwings are always moving vertically when at rest, adding to the "false head" effect. 
The M-shaped lines on the underside hind wing lead towards a focal point of "false eye" - the red and blue spots and the "false antennae" - short wing tails with white tips. The hairstreak turns around when it lands to fool the predator about the whereabouts of its vital organs. Hence, frequently one can find individuals missing parts of the wings where the eyespot and tails were located: these individuals escape attack by predators, such as birds.
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Also counted in transect A were four Long tailed skippers (Urbanus proteus) of the Hesperiidae family, 23  Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia) of the Nymphalidae family, eight Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae) of the Pieridae family, and 35 Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon)  of the Nymphalidae family. Great numbers for a winter monitoring expedition!

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
February 18, 2013 was a very cold day, but we were still able to observe our year-round butterflies in transect A:  three Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia) of the Nymphalidae family and 26 Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon)  of the Nymphalidae family.
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)

In transect D, the Red bay transect, where many red bay saplings are still surviving, we spotted one Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes) of the Papilionidae family, and we did see two others of that species along the trails between our transects, however we don't count those, as we must follow the protocol of the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network.

Our next expedition will be March 18, 2013.