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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:39 PM   #1
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Default Some recent "bugs"

Have not had time to stop by for a few weeks - busy with park spring events and some major trail projects. But have seen plenty of new life waking up to the East Tennessee springtime, and wanted to share a few images. Instead of one VERY LONG thread, will post several (probably still too long) threads.

So first some recent insect findings.

We continue to see many old, tattered butterflies who successfully survived the mild winter season, or who migrated in with the return of spring. Here are a few views of an American Lady, enjoying some Black Mustard nectar.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:41 PM   #2
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And here are a rather worn-out Tiger Swallowtail and an autumn-morph Question Mark (its color pattern indicates that it emerged last fall), both enjoying the springtime sunshine.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:43 PM   #3
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Two more nectar-eaters - a Red Admiral on Fetterbush (fetterbush is a butterfly magnet in early spring at the higher elevations), and a Pipevine Swallowtail on Phlox.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:46 PM   #4
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Pipevine Swallowtails are rarely eaten - they pick up a bad-tasting chemical from their caterpillar days eating Dutchman's Pipevine. And there are several other butterflies that look a lot like the Pipevine Swallowtails - a form of protective mimicry.

One of those mimics is not even a swallowtail. It's called the Red-Spotted Purple. Here's a nice fresh one that just recently emerged into the spring sunshine.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:48 PM   #5
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Our early spring has also encouraged some dragonflies and damselflies to emerge early. And not just emerging early, but laying eggs early too. Here are a White Tail Dragonfly and a Fragile Forktail Damselfly, each in the midst of depositing eggs into a small pond.
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Last edited by mole; Apr 22, 2012 at 7:59 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:50 PM   #6
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Common Green Darners almost never perch, but one recent sunny cool day, this male and female paused in their aerial pursuit of each other long enough for a quick sunbath (and a quick snapshot).
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:53 PM   #7
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And we've seen LOTS of Lancet Clubtails emerging recently too. These dragonflies often perch on or near the ground, and then fly in a sort of roller-coaster pattern as they patrol their territories.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:56 PM   #8
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We also spotted what appears to be a new record for our region of a rather unusual dragonfly called the Piedmont Clubtail. Several species (and not just dragonflies) seem to be moving more inland and further north, perhaps with changes in climate?

These dragonflies were very shy - I got MANY very bad photos, and just a few barely useable ones. Plan to return to the same spot soon, to try for some better shots.

(PS - can you see a bit of his lunch hanging out of his mouth?)
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 7:58 PM   #9
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Hope you enjoyed a few glimpses of insect life in the East Tennessee hills, and that you will share your comments & critique!

(Will post some recent flowers and spring scenes in another thread...)
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 8:40 PM   #10
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Wonderful series! I haven't seen any flowers up around the house, much less any butterflies. Very nice series.
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