[Ctleps-l] Lyme butterflies

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at tmpeng.com
Mon Sep 1 10:54:16 EDT 2014

Interesting notes, Lenny, on the Crescents. This is a phenomenon that appears to occur throughout the southern half (or so) of New England.

In north suburban Boston hillsides, I have noted orange-tipped Crescents on moist hillsides (i.e. Ski Trail of the Boston Hill, N. Andover MA that has now been destroyed by a condo complex) about July 24. These are obviously NOT tharos - they feature a rather strong, rapid flight and advidly nectar at low flowers on the hillside. As these are becoming worn toward the end of July, in early August an entity, somewhat smaller with black tipped antennae appear on the base of the hillside. These have a weaker flight, closer to the ground etc. Then in early September in moist areas, thee appears another orange-tipped whatever with a very strong, rapid flight, sometimes a meter of more above the surface. It has appeared to me from examining spread phenotypes that these constitute three separate entities.

Then on top of all this, there is a strange orange-tipped entity that flies in salt marshes in coastal Massachusetts - again north of Boston - in the weedy areas at the edges of the salt marshes. Matt Arey plans to post photos of one of these............

This is a "mess".......and we haven't even gotten into the early season flights, where it is even more "messy".

From: ctleps-l-bounces at mailman.yale.edu [ctleps-l-bounces at mailman.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Epmanshell at aol.com [Epmanshell at aol.com]
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2014 10:16 AM
To: ctleps-l at mailman.yale.edu
Subject: Re: [Ctleps-l] Lyme butterflies

On Saturday, August 30th, I visited a power line right-of-way in Lyme where I found a total of 9 species of butterflies.  The list for the day is as follows:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (3)
American Copper (4)
Gray Hairstreak (1)
Eastern Tailed-Blue (15)
Great Spangled Fritillary (6)
Crescent sp. (3+; see notes below)
Silver-spotted Skipper (1)
Peck's Skipper (1)
Northern Broken Dash (1)


The 3 crescents that I saw were all males with orange tipped antennae; the upper side of the hind wings were unmarked orange except for 2 black veins closest to the insect's body.

While not conclusive, these are field marks for diminuta, a species/subspecies in the Northern Crescent complex.

These individuals were different than the Pearl Crescents seen on last week's CBA field trip in Guilford.  Those individuals had completely black antennae and black veins across the entire upper side of the hind wing.

If anyone is photographing Crescents, preferably males flying in CT in August, I'd be interested in seeing them.

I am attempting to determine flight times for the entities in CT in this Crescent complex.

Sincerely yours,

Lenny Brown

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