Police Car Moth – Black and White

The Police Car Moth gets its name from the overall black and white wing colouration and two orange-red spots on the collar (like a police car). It is a Diurnal moth (flies during the day) unlike most moths which fly at night. One way to differentiate between butterflies and moths is to look at the antenna. Moths have feathered antenna and butterflies have clubbed ends.


The Flutter Files

Name: Police Car Moth
Species:
Gnophaela vermiculata
Native to: A common western North American species found from southern British Columbia across to western Manitoba and south to northern New Mexico.
Date Seen:
August 2021
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Notes:
Adults feed on nectar from flowers such as thistle and goldenrod.

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.
– Paula Poundstone –

Color television! Bah, I won’t believe it until I see it in black and white.
– Samuel Goldwyn –

It’s an amazing thing to watch a lizard fold a moth into its mouth, like a sword swallower who specialises in umbrellas.
– Elizabeth McCracken –

If intelligence were a television set, it would be an early black-and-white model with poor reception, so that much of the picture was gray and the figures on the screen were snowy and indistinct. You could fiddle with the knobs all you wanted, but unless you were careful, what you would see often depended more on what you expected or hoped to see than on what was really there.
– Madeleine Albright –

White Admiral Butterfly

The Flutter Files
Name: White Admiral Butterfly or possibly Western White Admiral
Species: Limenitis arthemis
Native to: Much of Canada, with the Western White Admiral in Alaska and western Canada
Date Seen: June 2017
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Notes: Black or deep brown body with wide white band.

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly

Bug Bits
Name: Anise Swallowtail Butterfly
Species: Papilio zelicaon
Native to: Western North America
Date Seen: May 2012
Location: Southern Alberta
Notes: A large butterfly – 52 to 80 mm (2.0 to 3.1 in) similar in color to the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly – except quite different when you look more carefully!

Painted Lady Butterfly – Arizona

The Flutter Files
Name: Painted Lady Butterfly
Species: Vanessa cardui
Native to: Found on most continents (except Australia and Antarctica) in many climates.
Date Seen: November 2016, October 2016
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Notes: An irruptive migrant – migrates independent of any seasonal or geographic patterns.

Empress Leilia Butterfly

The Flutter Files
Name: Empress Leilia Butterfly
Species: Asterocampa leilia
Native to: Central and southern Arizona (except for the southwest) as well as south Texas, Mexico and Baja
Date Seen: March 2014
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Notes: Wing Span: 1 1/2 – 3 inches (3.8 – 7.6 cm). This butterfly was sitting on Lantana flowers. Apparently they do not normally feed on nectar, though. Either the butterfly wasn’t feeding, or it is a butterfly that isn’t what I think it is!

Cabbage White Butterfly

In a past post, White Butterflies Hiding in a Hay Field, I wasn’t able to actually get a photo of the White Butterflies. They never came to rest long enough, or if they did stop, it was on the low growing flowers that I couldn’t see! Later, the butterflies were feeding on some flowers that were easily visible, so I finally got to capture their image. They are very skittish butterflies, however, and I had to stand well back and use a zoom lens.

They are Cabbage White Butterflies. They are described as being white butterflies with dark dots on their upper wings. Their underwings can be various shades of yellow.

This cabbage white is showing its age. Note how weathered and ragged the wings are getting!

Alberta Canada

The Cabbage butterfly was introduced to Quebec, Canada, from Europe in the 1860’s and has since spread throughout the continent.

Alberta Canada

While they are a delight to watch, especially if there are a lot of them fluttering through your yard, their caterpillars are the bane of gardeners – they eat members of the mustard family and this includes cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprout and cauliflower.

Alberta Canada

The Flutter Files
Common Name: Small Cabbage White Butterfly
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Native to: It was originally only in Europe. It was accidentally introduced into China (in 1989), North America (in 1860), Australia (in 1937) and New Zealand (in 1930)
Date Seen:  September 2011, August and September, 2017
Location: North East of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: These butterflies have a dark body with white wings. The upper wings have a charcoal to black band at the tip and a dark spot in the center of each upper wing. Males have one spot on each wing and females have two. Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Weathered.

Fritillary Butterflies and Violas

Bridging the Knowledge Gap:

I was weeding and deadheading a few days ago, and was surprised to find my viola/pansy crop consisted of mostly bare stalks. Odd. When I looked closer, I could see that the few remaining leaves were well chewed.

I didn’t give the sorry state of the Viola family much more thought.

Yesterday I was patrolling the yard with my camera, looking for birds, blooms and bugs. I ‘caught’ the House Wren feeding it’s young, a blue dragonfly, various flowers and seeds, and a spotted orange butterfly.

Alberta, Canada

The Butterfly was a new find for me, (or so I thought). I looked it up on the Internet, and decided it was a Fritillary Butterfly.

Determining which Fritillary (Atlantis, Callippe, Edward’s, Great Spangled, Meadow or Mormon) was too fine a distinction for my ID skills! The important piece of information, though, is that the Fritillary Caterpillar eats members of the Violet family. That probably explains the decimation of my Viola and Pansy plants.

Alberta, Canada I also learned that the top and bottom of butterfly wings will have different patterns. The underside (bottom) of the Fritillary Butterfly wing is what I had photographed and been looking for on the internet.

The top of the wings is a bit different. I went to my photo files of Butterflies, and realized that I had already photographed a Fritillary Butterfly, but had only seen the top of it’s wings.

My two butterfly ‘finds’ were actually members of the same family. Another Knowledge Gap bridged!

The interesting thing is, in normal circumstances, I would not have photographed the chewed up Violas.Their role in the life cycle of the Fritillary Butterfly would have been lost to me. A small, but important piece of information bridged that gap, and that made all the difference.

The Flutter Files
Species: Argynninae
Name: Greater Fritillary Butterfly
Date Seen: July 7, 2017 and August 8, 2016
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta

What big connections have you made when you found a small, but important ‘bridge’ piece of information?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Bridge.

Monarch Butterfly Collage

32-monarch-butterfly1

I made this Monarch Butterfly Collage with 5 photos. The first, and background layer, was a photo of painted daisies. I gave it a textured filter.

The remaining four photos were close-ups of a single Monarch Butterfly. I put those photos into 4 layers, gave each of them a border, and positioned them on top of the background photo.

Layers, in GIMP or any other photo editing program, are like a stack of transparencies. There are many ways to alter each layer, without affecting any of the other layers!

See more blogger’s photos at WordPress Photo Challenge – Collage

Monarch Butterfly – a Magic Migration

We’ve had Monarch butterflies in our Arizona yard recently. They may be migrating south to Mexico, north-west to California or they may overwinter here if the conditions are favourable.

67-monarch2

The Monarch’s Southern fall migration is made by a single butterfly that will live for 6 to 8 months. The Northern spring migration will take multiple generations of butterflies. These butterflies live only 2 to 6 weeks – a lot of their energy goes into producing the next generation of butterflies and migrating north.

Scientists believe that the Monarch butterflies navigate by using an internal Sun compass. They use the time of day and the sun’s position on the horizon to find their way.

I think that is wonderfully magical, because I sometimes have trouble navigating out of the parking lot of the big mall…

The Flutter Files
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Common Name: Monarch Butterfly
Migration: In Summer from as far north as Southern Canada to wintering grounds in Southern California or Mexico.
Date Seen: November 14, 2016
Location: Central Arizona

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Magic.