Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs!

The butterflies are becoming more abundant lately. There are lots of nectar-producing flowers blooming now, so tons of food. Over the weekend I managed to get photos of two more butterfly species: Epargyreus clarus (silver-spotted skipper), and Phyciodes cocyta (? sometimes it is difficult to tell apart species in this genus but I think it's Phyciodes cocyta based on what appears to be an orange tip on the antennal club, which is apparently a distinguishing feature of this species [1]), the northern crescent.

Phyciodes cocyta (?)
Both of these species are native to North America. Phyciodes cocyta is one of Canada's most abundant butterflies in its range [1].

Phyciodes cocyta (?)
Epargyreus clarus is Canada's largest skipper [2], being about as big as a monarch or tiger swallowtail. It is not particularly abundant [2], so I was lucky to have run into a group of them (there were four that I saw in a few minutes). This species can be somewhat colonial [2], so it's unsurprising that there were a reasonable number of them in the same area.

Epargyreus clarus - collecting nectar from Vicia cracca
I also managed to get a very nice shot of a ladybug, which I believe is Coccinella septempunctata (seven-spotted ladybug), a species native to Europe but which has been repeatedly and extensively introduced in North America as pest control against aphids [3].

Coccinella septempunctata

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