Readers’ wildlife photos

I see that yesterday’s photo post was a repeat of one posted barely a week before. I blame jet lag, not senility. Today we return (I hope) to all new photos—of Lepidoptera. First, from reader Don Bredes, we have “two caterpillars: one good, one bad”. His notes are indented:

Found this Black swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) among my garden carrots the other day.

Yesterday, the caterpillar below crept up onto the cat’s rug, which I had drying out in the sun.  After the photo, in kindness, I carried it to a better spot.  Then I came inside to look it up.  It’s a hickory tussock moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae), about an inch long, white and fuzzy, with a few big tufts of black hair.  Charming but venomous—and increasingly common here in New England. Those hairs are connected to poison glands.
I felt no ill effects.

And adult butterflies from reader Roger Sorensen:

A sure sign of late summer here in central Minnesota is Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’) in bloom and pollinators going crazy on it. Mine have been swarmed by butterflies and bees. This is a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) sharing the bloom with a trio of Common Eastern Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens). This Painted Lady [photos 3 and 4] is the male of the species, with blue markings in the brown spots on the trailing wing edge. The female [first two photos], here on Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), lacks the blue markings. Bumblebees have turned their attention to the Sneezeweed as well.
A little over a week ago, while helping a friend with his hop harvest, we found a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) chrysalis among the plucked hops. It didn’t appear damaged so I took it home. Three days ago the pale green chrysalis began to darken with orange a white starting to appear on the wings. The following day it was distinctly Monarch colored and the next day it emerged while I was away at workm leaving only the exuvia behind.


  1. Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Good job saving that Monarch chrysalis! They are really suffering these days. We used to see them all the time in summer (St. Paul area) and now see them only a few times each summer. 😦

  2. Terry Sheldon
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos! I got a bit confused by the description (literalist that I am) because the first two photos are of the critters on the sneezeweed and the last two are on the sedum.

    • mightyog
      Posted September 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      The first one is bumblebees swarming around sneezeweed, then the female painted lady on sneezeweed. I’m not sure of the gender of the one with folded wings.

  3. busterggi
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Senn two bedraggled Monarch heading south this past weekend – more this year than several past years so I still have hope.

  4. Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Painted Lady??? A European species surely…? Is it introduced or naturally occurring?

    • Posted September 19, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      The Wikiness says that Vanessa cardui is almost global in its distribution.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s pouring rain here and in the 50’s, so it’s nice to look at photos of Summer activity. Too bad you weren’t able to see the monarch emerge and dry and fly, but at least you know it’s alive and well.

  6. Posted September 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    👍 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Diane G.
    Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Great photos, Don. Thanks!

    I’ve had a bumper crop of Monarchs this year for which I’m most grateful. Have a sign near one area asking the lawn mowers not to weed-whack it–it’s full of chrysalides (the proper plural per Merriam-Webster!).

    Very nice shots of the emergence process.

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