Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Puddling Butterflies

This is a pictorial tutorial on distinguishing
the Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae (individual on left),
from the Sleepy Orange butterfly, Eurema nicippe (group on right).

This photo was taken just north of US 290 on the east side of Roberts Road at a vacant lot posted “For Sale” for commercial development. Puddling is a social activity of butterfly species. The butterflies are fortifying themselves with dissolved salts from the soil.

Image: Biosparite.

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Comments

  1. #1 Julie Stahlhut
    October 24, 2006

    Lovely photo! I’ve always had a fondness for sulphurs.

  2. #2 biosparite
    October 24, 2006

    Julie,
    You might check the NABA (North American Butterfly Assn.)website to see if there is a chapter in your area. Our Houston chapter has field trips and butterfly counts throughout our subtropical warm season, i.e., February or March through late October. If there is a chapter near you, you will have lots of fun with the programs and activities and see lots of butterflies. Beginners who attend our counts almost uniformly declare at the end of the day that they had no idea there are so many butterfly species in the count area. The occasion for this photo was a return trip to the Katy Prairie count circle by several of us after the previous week’s count had found over 5000 cloudless sulphurs and over 1600 sleepy oranges swarming a field full of a sulphur host plant, Cassia obtusifolia, just a couple of hundred yards north of the site of this photo.

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