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Lots of Butterflies
Lens: Adaptall 90 & 2XTC, FA 100, others Camera: K 5IIs Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 08-26-2015, 08:40 PM

It's been a warm, wet summer here in the East Tennessee hills - perfect weather for butterflies. And I have been fortunate to have some opportunities to snap a few shots at several of them.




Here's a "flock" of Tiger Swallowtails on an old Forest Service road in Shelton Laurel. Males of many butterfly species have this "puddling" behavior - licking up salts from puddles, etc.




For example, here's a Pipevine Swallowtail getting some minerals from Fox droppings over at Rocky Fork.




And a whole crowd of Pipevine Swallowtails at the same scat pile.




Here's a Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, also at Rocky Fork. He's just about finished eating all the leaves off of a small dutchman's pipevine. The toxic vine gives the caterpillars (and adults) great protection from predators.




Here's one of the many mimics of Pipevine Swallowtail - the Spicebush Swallowtail. Not at all toxic, but gets some protection from predation because of the similarity in appearance.




Here's another butterfly getting minerals - a Hackberry Emperor licking gravel.




The best way to find a Tawny Emperor is to hike on a hot day. They are drawn to sweat, and will land right on your hands or face. I got this one to pose by wiping some sweat onto a leaf!




Here's the same butterfly with some fill flash. A bit sharper, but I like the look of the natural light better. Which do you prefer?




Our East Tennessee butterflies don't ONLY visit puddles and scat. Here's another Tiger Swallowtail enjoying Joe Pye Weed nectar…




A Silvery Checkerspot feeding at Daisy Fleabane…




A Great Spangled Fritillary working an old Turk's Cap Lily…




A Gray Hairstreak on Swamp Milkweed (do you see the "fake antennas" and "fake eyespots" on the wing tips?)




A Juniper Hairstreak on Common Milkweed…




And another Spicebush Swallowtail enjoying Thistle nectar.




But this butterfly never visits flowers. We find Northern Pearly Eyes in dark, damp, shady woods, usually feeding on decaying vegetation.




Common Wood Nymphs prefer drier woods, but also go mostly for rotten plant materials.




Will close with a few moths. Here's an unusual pose for a Clearwing - I almost never see them perch. It seems like they are always hovering like tiny hummingbirds…




Like this…




And here's a rather fresh Luna Moth in the shady summer woods.




Hope you enjoyed all the summer 'flies! Thanks for any comments and critique!


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08-27-2015, 02:05 AM   #2
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Your pictures are simply great! Keep on posting more samples...
08-27-2015, 12:03 PM   #3
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Wow, that's quite the collection. Thanks!
08-27-2015, 12:26 PM   #4
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Beautiful subjects and photos.

08-27-2015, 01:35 PM   #5
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Those are great! Thanks for posting.
08-27-2015, 08:38 PM   #6
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What a feast of beautiful photos! Nice work.
08-27-2015, 09:40 PM   #7
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sweet set! send some of them to north Alabama! I've only gotten a few
08-27-2015, 09:53 PM   #8
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Wonderful, love the clearwing.

08-28-2015, 05:04 PM   #9
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by redpit Quote
Your pictures are simply great! Keep on posting more samples...
So glad you enjoyed the photos. Will hope for more spare time to post some soon...

QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Wow, that's quite the collection. Thanks!
Yes, we are blessed with a great diversity of lepidoptera here in East Tennessee!


QuoteOriginally posted by Bunch Quote
Beautiful subjects and photos.
Thanks so much!

QuoteOriginally posted by TedW Quote
Those are great! Thanks for posting.
And thanks for taking time to comment.

QuoteOriginally posted by plantej Quote
What a feast of beautiful photos! Nice work.
These little bugs are a feast for my eyes too. Thanks!


QuoteOriginally posted by Aaron28 Quote
sweet set! send some of them to north Alabama! I've only gotten a few
Will try talking to them about visiting you sometime soon!


QuoteOriginally posted by Heinrich Lohmann Quote
Wonderful, love the clearwing.
Thanks - that was one of my favorites too.
08-28-2015, 05:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mole Quote
Will try talking to them about visiting you sometime soon!
hahaha! awesome!
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