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Monday, September 3, 2012

Tucson Arizona: Butterfly Experts

The first half of our last day in Arizona was a little different than our other days. Today we were meeting Mr. & Mrs. Owlbait's butterfly friends. Friends that collect, study and write books about butterflies and moths. We meet the group at the base of the mountains and then we all carpooled up. There were numerous stops along the road up to the top of the mountain that they were checking out. It is so interesting going out with people who know so much. Because finding insects revolves mainly around food sources they know just as much about plants as they did about butterflies.

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BLOOMING BARREL CACTUS

We found so many super cool butterflies this morning and throughout this trip. Butterflies that would barely sit still for photos. Thank goodness there were so many flowers with the rainy season, I was able to get quite a few perched for just a moment. Butterflies are so beautiful and I have never seen so many at one time before. Arizona is truly a mecca of awesome nature.

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FUNERAL DUSKYWING

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MONARCH

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RED SPOTTED ADMIRAL

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SPRING WHITE

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QUEEN

Some butterflies you can catch on the ground. The male adult butterflies use mud-puddling to collect sodium and amino acids. Many of them are fond of sipping fluids at wet sand or along the edge of streams or at boundaries of dirt trails. We were often able to see them gathered in shallow waters or wet areas in order to digest the dissolved minerals.

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ARIZONA RED SPOTTED PURPLE

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ARIZONA RED SPOTTED PURPLE

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GROUP OF SULPHER BUTTERFLIES

Of course even with experts I was able to get every butterfly identified. There were five that I still needed to find the names for. Sometimes it is super difficult, almost impossible to find the names of things. Occassionally I run across a fantastic site where I can get all my questions answered. Today I found a site on Arizona butterflies that was fantastic! Thanks to sites like these I was able to get what I needed.

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BOARDERED PATCH

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BOARDERED PATCH

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CALIFORNIA SISTER

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A GROUP OF MARINE BLUES

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RED BOARDERED SATYR

Skippers are part of the butterfly family but they look very different. They dont have the flashy colors of some of the more beautiful butterflies. They are generally a brown, brownish orange, and could almost be called dull. That is they might be dull until you look close. Each and every one is beautiful and unique behind the lens. Skippers are called this because of their darting flight habits.

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ARIZONA POWDERED SKIPPER

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ARIZONA POWDERED SKIPPER

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DULL FIRETIP

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DULL FIRETIP

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SHEEP SKIPPER

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COMMON SOOTYWING

As well as butterflies there are the products of where butterflies came from. We found several caterpillars, some looked normal, but others like the black and yellow one were freaky. We also found a single caccoon.

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CACOON

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TIGER BUTTERFLY CATERPILLAR

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A CATERPILLAR EGG

And then butterflies that are not quite butterflies. I got to see another super cool moth. I got to see the White Lined Sphinx Moth. The wings beat so fast, like a hummingbirds. There were about five in this single patch of flowers but they moved so fast I had a hard time taking photos.

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WHITE LINED SPHIX MOTH

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WHITE LINED SPHIX MOTH

2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

I love butterflies. Those skippers are really hard to identify. Good job! LOVE the California Sister!

Jennifer Arens said...

I was going to say, I bet your Mom loves this post!

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