Early Butterflies

Mourning cloak butterfly

Mourning cloak butterfly feeding on tree sap

Every semester, I take my non-majors class on a nature excursion to see insects in their natural environment. This spring has been cool; some trees have not yet produced leaves and many insect are not yet active. Still, we managed to find representative of the 5 major groups of insects including a swarm of aphids that attached to my light blue shirt and accompynied us on the tour. The Cabbage Butterflies were the most numerous of the spring butterflies (as always). The harsh winter temperatures did not phase them. Common sulfurs were numerous. A mourning cloak, which overwinters as an adult skirted our group. The Red Amiral, one of the early migrants was present yesterday (4/27/14) and has been seen in town for the past couple of weeks. We also had a visit by a spring azure. All in all, the butterflies were well represented.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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