09-15-14 Butterfly Field Note

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09-15-14 Butterfly Field Note

September 15, 2014

Jeffrey Pippen's Butterfly Field Note details species of buttflies, dragonflies, and moths observed durring transect surveys.

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Butterfly Field Note Pollard Transects, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Moths, Fire Jeffrey S. Pippen 12 Sep 2014

I continued weekly Pollard Transect butterfly surveys in three draws. Many butterfly populations wane with approaching autumn and cooler temperatures.

Several species of greater fritillaries fly in Missoula County. During late summer, females, like this Zerene Fritillary, crawl through ground layer vegetation searching for violets to lay eggs.

This fresh female Great Spangled Fritillary likely has not begun egg-laying.

Across their range, Pink-edged Sulphurs lay eggs on the upper sides of huckleberry leaves. This egg affixes to dwarf huckleberry at MPG North.

Unlike Pink-edged Sulphurs, Orange Sulphurs show hints of orange on the forewing.

A wary Purplish Copper prepares to take flight as I approach with my camera.

Rabbitbrush is a major source of nectar for late season butterflies. Skippers, like these Woodland Skippers (red arrows), abound on shrubs in full flower.

Dragonfly numbers increase in late summer. This colorful Band-winged Meadowhawk perches on old knapweed flowers by Woodchuck Creek.

White-faced Meadowhawks show white faces contrasting with dark red eyes and unstriped red bodies.

Darners are large dragonflies that perch vertically on vegetation. This Canada Darner takes a break from hunting insects at MPG North.

This Paddle-tailed Darner (above two photos) pauses near Woodchuck Creek. Paddletailed Darners are named for paddle-shaped appendages at the tips of their abdomens.

Underwing moths in the genus Catocala sport intricate patterns in dull colors on their upper forewings. Bright colors adorn the hindwings.

Moths come in myriad shapes, sizes, and colors. This clouded crimson moth decorates the wall under a Top House porch light. Its caterpillars feed on scarlet beeblossom.

A helicopter carries a water bucket over MPG Ranch en route to fight a wildfire in Three Mile Preserve on 29 August 2014. Wildfires open forest habitats for wildflowers and butterflies.