Monday, August 26, 2013

Photo of the Week

This photo shows butterflies puddling on a pile of scat at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve. Puddling is a common behavior among butterflies. While butterflies can supply their energy needs by sipping nectar at flowers, they must look elsewhere for other nutrients like minerals. Sometimes they do this in actual puddles or muddy patches, but they will just as readily feed from scat. In this case, it provided me with a butterfly lifer, a Hackberry Emperor. The Hackberry Emperor is one of several butterfly species that begins its life cycle on the leaves of hackberry trees, particularly American Hackberry. Other hackberry specialists include American Snout, which I have seen during past vists to Negri-Nepote, and Tawny Emperor.