August 8, 2011

Butterflies at the Beach?

Today my MIL and I took the kids back down to the town beach at the dam and I discovered a very peculiar thing, butterflies at the beach!  I have never seen butterflies just hanging out on the beach, in the sand.  Colton and I chased a few down for some photos.  I managed to capture three stunning species which I will share with you below.

Danaus plexippus

This next one was very tough to get a shot of.  He was a little more camera shy than the others.  These photos had to be zoomed and cropped, so not the best, but still a stunning butterfly.

Question Mark
Polygonia interrogationis

The reason for the name Question Mark is because in the photo below, the white markings on the wing look like a question mark.

This next beauty was very peculiar.  At first I thought it was a monarch until it opened up its wings.  While, the back of him is black, white and blue, the underside of the wings were orange, black and white.

White Admiral
Limenitis arthemis arthemis

Oh and I had to look up why they were on the beach.  After combing a few websites it looks like these are all male butterflies and them hanging out on the beach is called, "mud puddling."  They are gathering sodium and nitrates which are found dissolved in mud or damp sand.  Interesting!

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