Thursday, July 4, 2013
Bountiful Butterfly Weed
Could there be any wildflower as showy as beautiful Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa var. interior)? I found it blooming abundantly along the Ice Meadows on Wednesday, and all kinds of insects had accepted its colorful invitation to come and partake of its pollen. What struck me today was how many of those insects came adorned with colors to complement the vivid orange of the flower they were feasting on.
At first glance, this Banded Hairstreak Butterfly (Satyrium calanus) appears a dull dark brown. But closer inspection reveals several spots of vivid orange on its hindwings near the tail-like projections that give this butterfly its common name.
The American Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phleas) is not nearly so restrained about adorning itself with orange.
And here's a Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) that's perfectly attired to match its floral surroundings, with golden hairs on its head and thorax and an abdomen broadly banded with bright orange.