Posts Tagged ‘Monarch butterfly’

Monarch butterfly chrysalises

February 7, 2017

Let’s continue the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) theme by flashing back to a time several years ago when my best camera for photowalking was either an Apple iPhone or whatever camera gear I could borrow.

Patuxent Research Refuge

A Monarch butterfly chrysalis was spotted on 02 September 2012 at the Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, Maryland USA. The chrysalis was attached to a telephone callbox outside the Visitor Contact Station, North Tract. The chrysalis was located near a bed of milkweed plants. I observed Monarch butterfly caterpillars (larvae) feeding on the same milkweed on 26 August 2012.

The next image is a closer crop of the preceding photo, taken using a loaner Canon EOS Rebel XTi DSLR camera.

Hollin Meadows Elementary School

A Monarch butterfly chrysalis casing was spotted during a photowalk on 09 October 2010 at the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The chrysalis was attached to the outside of a classroom window near a planting of Scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica).

I observed Monarch butterfly caterpillars (larvae) feeding on the Scarlet milkweed plants during late August through early September 2010. Sometime later, during the pupal stage of its life, one of the caterpillars created a chrysalis on a classroom window in order to transform from larva to adult. I discovered the empty casing after the adult Monarch butterfly had emerged from its chrysalis.

(See a full-size version of the original photo, without annotation.)

The photo was taken using an Apple iPhone 3GS and annotated using Adobe Photoshop.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Another Monarch butterfly

February 5, 2017

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was spotted during a photowalk along Deephole Point Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (OBNWR), Prince William County, Virginia USA.

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

25 OCT 2016 | OBNWR | Monarch butterfly (male)

This individual is a male, as indicated by the presence of scent scales on his hind wings. Notice the dark wing spots clearly visible in the dorsal view (shown above) and faintly visible in the ventral view (shown below). Technically, the wing spots are called “androconia.”

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

25 OCT 2016 | OBNWR | Monarch butterfly (male)

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Monarch butterflies

February 3, 2017

Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) were spotted at several wildlife-watching locations in Northern Virginia during Fall 2016. Although I saw more Monarchs in 2016 than in past years, their numbers have decreased significantly since I started photowalking in 2010.

Huntley Meadows Park

A solitary Monarch butterfly was spotted near a vernal pool at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female, as indicated by the absence of scent scales on her hind wings.

The butterfly is feeding on an unknown species of thistle. Look closely at the full-size version of the preceding photo — the detailed structure of the flower head is astounding!

Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge

Another solitary female Monarch was spotted near Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. JMAWR is located along Dogue Creek, downstream from the southeastern boundary of Huntley Meadows Park.

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) spotted near Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

25 SEP 2016 | JMAWR | Monarch butterfly

It seems as though Monarchs like purple-colored flowers. Can anyone identify the flowering plant shown in the preceding photo?

Editor’s Note: My next blog post will feature photos of a male Monarch butterfly spotted on 25 October 2016 at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Viceroy butterflies (mating pair)

December 14, 2013

The following gallery shows a mating pair of Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus) perching on a willow tree, one of the host plants for Viceroy caterpillars. This pair was spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on 26 September 2013.

Viceroy butterflies look similar to Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus).

It can be distinguished from the Monarch by its smaller size and the post-median black line that runs across the veins on the hindwing. Source Credit: Viceroy (butterfly), Wikipedia.

The following photograph shows a Monarch butterfly feeding on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 August 2012. Contrast the Viceroy butterflies (shown above) with the Monarch (shown below): the Viceroy butterflies have a post-median black line across their hindwings; the Monarch does not.

Monarch butterfly feeding on Swamp Milkweed

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Monarch butterflies on Butterfly Bush (white)

October 16, 2011

During a photowalk through Milway Meadows, a residential community in Fairfax County, Virginia USA, I spotted several Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) feeding on the white flowers of a Butterfly Bush (Buddleja sp.). I have never seen so many Monarchs in one location — I estimate anywhere from six- to 10 butterflies were feeding on the same bush! I wonder whether the butterflies I saw were part of a larger group migrating south for the winter.

Img_4763-ver2_apertureImg_4770-ver2_apertureImg_4771-ver2_apertureImg_4786-ver2_apertureImg_4787-ver2_apertureImg_4790-ver2_apertureImg_4793-ver2_apertureImg_4795-ver2_apertureImg_4806-ver2_apertureImg_4810-ver2_apertureImg_4783_annotatedImg_4785_annotated

The preceding gallery features copies of the original photos (shown below) that were cropped and adjusted using Apple Aperture. Photos 11 and 12 were annotated using Apple Preview in order to highlight one or more butterflies that you may have overlooked. The photos in both galleries appear in the same sequence.

Img_4763_apertureImg_4770_apertureImg_4771_apertureImg_4786_apertureImg_4787_apertureImg_4790_apertureImg_4793_apertureImg_4795_apertureImg_4806_apertureImg_4810_apertureImg_4783Img_4785

Tech Tips: The gallery (shown above) features some of the better photos from a batch I shot using my Apple iPhone 3GS after cell phone service was de-activated. (I just upgraded to an iPhone 4.) I was curious to know whether the de-activated 3GS would still geotag photos taken using its built-in camera. As it turns out, the de-activated iPhone 3GS (essentially the same as an iPod touch) did in fact geotag all of my photos. The accuracy wasn’t as good as usual (for details, see “The ABCs of A-GPS“), except in the case of the photos I shot while standing in the same place for a long time — I guess the phone’s GPS chip was able to get a better position fix when I was stationary for a while. I used Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, to geolocate all of the photos correctly during post-processing.

Another Monarch butterfly caterpillar

September 5, 2011
Img_4290_aperture

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillar feeding on Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), a species of milkweed. This individual was spotted during a photowalk through Hollin Hills, a residential community located in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Monarch butterfly caterpillars

September 3, 2011
Img_0694_aperture

Several Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars feeding on Scarlet Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) plants, spotted during a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School.

Monarch butterfly (male)

August 19, 2011
Img_4212_ver2_aperture_annotatedImg_4212_ver2_apertureImg_4246_ver2_apertureImg_4238_aperture

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) spotted during a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School. This individual is a male, as indicated by the “androconia” — two “hindwing pouches” on the male butterfly’s lower wings. Photo 1 of 4 was annotated to highlight the androconia; Photo 2 of 4 is the original photograph.

Tech Tips: Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, was used to crop Photos 1, 2, and 3. Apple “Preview” was used to annotate Photo 1 to highlight the androconia on the butterfly’s hindwings.

 

Monarchs Mating

March 16, 2011

During a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School, I observed two Monarch butterflies mating. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday! I used my Apple iPhone 3GS to shoot some still photos and video clips, some of which turned out remarkably well (he said, not too modestly). During post-processing of the media, I used VLC media player to capture a couple of video snapshots, including an annotated snapshot that highlights the “androconium” (one of two “hindwing pouches” on the male butterfly’s lower wings).

Asclepias (all species), commonly known as “Milkweed,” is the “host plant” for Monarch butterflies. See a photo index of more pictures of Monarch butterfly caterpillars and Milkweed plants.

Photo Captions:

  1. Monarch butterfly (male) feeding on Scarlet Milkweed.
  2. Video snapshot.
  3. Annotated video snapshot, highlighting androconium (circled in red).
  4. Several Monarch butterfly caterpillars feeding on Milkweed.
  5. Monarch butterfly chrysalis casing, shown upper-right.

Related Resources:


%d bloggers like this: