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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:26 PM   #1
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Default Some more Springtime "Bugs"

Been very busy with springtime trail repairs this past week or two, but also taking time to notice all the new springtime insect arrivals. Unusually warm and wet weather continues to affect emergence times, and also allowed more than usual overwintering survival. So we're seeing lots of insects earlier than usual, and lots of faded old insects...

For example, look at this tattered old Zebra Swallowtail - appears to be quite happy to have survived the winter, and to have lived long enough to get some fresh Redbud nectar...
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:30 PM   #2
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Have already posted some photos of our early spring Falcate Orange Tips, but had not yet posted some "courtship" photos. Only the male has the orange wingtips. This female kept bending her abdomen up as he approached. I thought that might mean she was receptive, but he disagreed with my opinion (he gave up the chase and started after a different female...)
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:33 PM   #3
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West Virginia Whites are a rather scarce "cousin" of the orange-tips (both are in the White family). Here's one at a Canada Violet, the face of one "puddling," and the result of a more successful "courtship."
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:35 PM   #4
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Warm, damp early spring brings an Oak disease called "Slime Flux." A nasty-sounding bacterial infection that makes the tree produce some nasty-smelling ooze. But some of our early butterflies seem to think it's tasty!

Here are two views of an Eastern Comma enjoying "oak goo."
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:37 PM   #5
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And here's a tiny one - the Gemmed Satyr - also feasting at the diseased oak tree.

(ps - can you see why it's called "gemmed?")
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:43 PM   #6
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And another tiny butterfly, but one that prefers nectar instead of slime. Unless you look carefully, it's easy to ignore the little greyish specks flitting by. But Eastern Tailed Blues are worth a close look. The little "tails" are supposed to mimic antennas, with orange spots for "eyes," so that predators will attack the wrong end of the butterfly. They even wiggle their wings to mimic antenna movement!
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:45 PM   #7
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Pipevine Swallowtails are just now emerging - hungry for nectar (like this dead nettle plant), and hungry for minerals (like this horse manure!!)
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:46 PM   #8
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Great photos, as usual. After looking through your posts, it feels as though one has been to eastern Tennessee for a visit with a great tour guide!
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:49 PM   #9
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Dragonflies and damselflies start their adult lives softer, paler, and shinier than they will be a few days later. These just-emerged ones are called tenerals. Here's a teneral Ashy Clubtail, and a teneral Aurora Damsel - two of our earliest odonates. (Harbingers of the crowds to come soon!)
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 7:51 PM   #10
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We don't usually see Tiger Beetles until later in the spring. But the sunny low paths are already full of them. I've had very little success with photographing these fast-moving, observant and shy beetles. But a little stalking gave me a pretty good view of this one...
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