Guiffrida Park- Meridan.. Falcates +

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at
Mon Apr 27 10:01:56 EDT 2009

My friend Matt Arey submitted this report to TILS-Leps-talk last night,
on our field trip of yesterday to the Hanging Hills of Meriden, CT, with
a brief side-trip to North Branford to examine a West Virginia White
colony. Sadly, the Whites appear to LONG GONE, due to the ugly
alteration to the habitat. When I was last there, on April 30, 2006, I
noted that someone had been cutting down trees in the habitat, and that
as a result of the excessive solar radiation reaching the surface, the
habitat had noticeably dried up; not only this, but the fallen logs have
just been left there for some reason, to further pollute and crush the
low vegetation. Today this former beautiful lush shaded Transition Zone
habitat is a barren wasteland of "pricker bushes" and dead leaves - and
the Whites, as I stated above, are for certain history at this

Really ugly...disgusting...and needless...

Matt is right also in his discussion about the habits and habitat of the
trap-rock ridge colonies of Falcate Orange Tips in southern Connecticut
and adjacent southeastern new York. I've long felt that these isolated
CT/NY populations should be separated subspecifically from typical
deciduous forest populations further south. One could not imagine
catching a fast-flying and erratic CT Falcate with his hands; but in the
past I have had little problems doing so in Tenn., Ohio etc. The North
Carolina populations to which Matt refers (coastal NC to Georgia) ARE in
fact a distinct subspecies (nominate midea) which feature a much more
extensive FW orange patch in the males, a larger black FW spot, much
more iridescence above and below and stronger marbling below, and the
females often have yellowish-gray at the FW apex; they are larger
also...Anyone who has not observed specimens of this interesting
subspecies should make an effort someday to do so...They peak typically
in early April in coastal North Carolina...(I know, by the way, an exact
location of one big NC colony if anyone is ever interested)...

And Matt definitely DID encounter a single specimen of West Virginia
White at the Hanging Hills, just above the reservoir along the road to
the peak; there is a stream along the south side of the road and some of
the hostplant there...The specimen was in that habitat... 

Peabody, MA

April 26, 2009

>>>[By Matt Arey]Sunny and hot again (near 90 deg.F)

Hanging Hills - Meriden, CT (New Haven Co.) Myself and fellow
Lepidopterist Alex Grkovich. 

Falcate Orange Tip (Anthocaris midea annickae) around 15 or so, all
Cabbage White (P. rapae) several
West Virginia White (Artogeia virginiensis) - 1 possible as it was not
as large as P. rapae, was in wrong habitat and different flight
behavior. It was also located in the same area where W. Va. White was
definitely observed last year.
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) 1
Red Admiral (V. atalanta) 1
Mourning Cloak (N. antiopa) a few
Eastern Comma (P. comma) 1 or 2
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) 1
Spring Azure (C. ladon) 10+
Eastern Black Swallowtail (P. polyxenes asterius) 2 or 3 males
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (P. glaucus) 2 males

We made a quick detour south to North Branford, CT where a supposed West
Virginia White colony existed. To our dismay, the extensive wooded area
was thinned of trees and much of the crucial understory was removed.
Much of larval host and other wetland vegetation was destroyed. The
habitat was altered so no W. Va. White. Years ago this was an area thick
with this species. 
The Falcate Orangetips at the Hanging Hills were not nearly as plentiful
as last year (4/24/08) where dozens including many females could be
observed within a brief walk along the ridge escarpments. This year the
peak flight is occurring later than expected. The populations of A.
midea are somewhat different here than those observed in let's say New
Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina and eastern Texas. They are smaller and fly
much more rapidly in a zig-zag pattern in comparison. Those from other
locales according to Alex, H. Pavulaan et al. have a more feeble flight.

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