The Monarch

Visited our yard this afternoon, stayed long enough for this portrait.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). I think it’s a male.

They’ve been flitting about the yard for a while, but never staying in one spot long enough for me to look closely, much less take a picture. This one just sat down on a defunct purple coneflower blossom and waited while I got a camera. As soon as I had taken this picture it flew away.

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Decorating for Autumn

We often collect wild flowers from the roadsides when we don’t have sufficient bloom in our own yard to decorate the rooms in our house. A couple of weeks ago we were on a flower-gathering expedition when we came to a convenient pullout where Harrison County 25 meets WV 98. Lisa pointed to a pretty stand of Joe Pye Weed at the edge of the pullout and said “get that one”. Then she added, “get the butterfly, too”.

Pipevine Swallowtail?

Pipevine Swallowtail?

I did my best. The Joe Pye Weed bloom went home with us, into a vase in the dining room. The butterfly posed long enough for me to get this picture, then went merrily on its way.

I think this is a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), maybe a female.

Red Aphid Visiting Some Spittlebugs

A red aphid (Uroleucon sp) checking out a colony of spittlebug (Cercopoidea sp.) nymphs in our yard, 10 August 2017.

Red aphid with spittlebug nymphs

Red aphid with spittlebug nymphs

The nymphs of the froghoppers, insects similar to leafhoppers, protect themselves by secreting a froth that looks a lot like spittle, thus earning the name “spittlebugs”. I don’t know what that red aphid was doing there. Maybe it was comparing sap-sucking techniques.