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July 2004


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"Grkovich, Alex" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 22 Jul 2004 15:14:14 -0400
text/plain (80 lines)
Hi Patty...

First, on the "white" Sulphurs: They are females (almost always...VERY
rarely - I've never seen one, knowingly) of Orange or Clouded Sulphurs, that
occur quite frequently...It is suspected that they are part of a mimicry
complex involving Whites (Cabbage, Checkered, Mustard, and West Virginia)
ion the east that are unpalatable to birds...The much less conspicuous Pink
Edged Sulphur (C. interior) has white females as well...Out west,
unpalatable Parnassians join in the fray...This is known as Mullerian
Mimicry - in which unpalatable butterflies all mimic each other in order to
present a more formidable wall of distasteful butterflies to prospective
vertebrate predators...The Monarch and Viceroy (and Queen and Soldier in the
south) are examples of Batesian Mimicry, in which a palatable species mimics
an unpalatable one (although recent evidence suggests that at least in the
south and southwest, Viceroys may be inedible as well, such that this may be
Mullerian Mimicry...another example of Batesian mimicry is the Pipevine
Swallowtail as model (protected, inedible) for edible females of Black and
Spicebush Swallowtails, black female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (rare in
central and northern New England), and Red Spotted Purples...

The Wood Nymph problem is that what you are seeing is probably the Northern
Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala [subspecies] nephele), which is the Wood Nymph
"form" of the Canadian Zone areas of New England and the Upper Midwest...It
is very dark form, lacking the light orange FW patch...The unusual thing
about nephele is that (besides having a very fast flight) it very frequently
visits flowers, which is quite uncharacteristic for Wood Nymphs (and Satyrs
in general)...In central VT we should encounter all sorts of integrades
between the Northern Wood Nymph (nephele) and the "Common" Wood Nymph (C. p.
ochraceae, or alope, or whatever - the taxonomy of the Wood Nymphs needs
review)...One final comment; in the southern part (lowland) of VT, watch for
a form with the light orange or yellow patch well-developed, but with the
LOWER FW eyespot much reduced...This is characteristic of the Southern Wood
Nymph (C. p. pegala) which ranges north to coastal Virginia with integrades
into New Jersey and occasionally into southeastern Mass. I found a couple
like this near Green River, Windham Co (VT) last July 20th...Rather
surprising to find this form so far north, but they obviously occur
there...A future paper of The Taxonomic Report of TILS id planned which will
deal with the entire "Common" Wood Nymph taxonomic situation...


PS I'm not trying to "push" TILS...I'm just informing that a paper is
planned on the subject...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Lambert [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 1:24 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      [VTLEPS] priority block survey
> My survey on the rail trail was the least productive ever. They have been
> mowing the sides of the path so there were no wild flowers there. I guess
> I need to find a new spot for the summer. I saw three large orange
> butterflies they flew too fast or were too far away. ? Monarch or
> Fritillary, 3 blue, 29 sulpher, fritillary,and a wood nymph. I thought I
> saw 3 whites but I looked at 4 sulphers with binoculars or net and release
> and found them to be very pale green almost white. If this is a white form
> of the orange sulpher than maybe the whites that I thought were cabbage
> white were not. I have a question. The wood nymph is not like to common
> wood nymph I saw the other day so I don't know what it is.  It is dark
> brown on both sides  and 2.5 inches across. The underside has two large
> eye spots on the forewing. They are black with a white/silver center
> surrounded by a thin yellow/tan ring. There are no eye spots on the hind
> wing, just two very very  tiny white spots. There is some
> shading/watermark appearance like the back of a pearly eye. The same two
> eye spots are on the front just not as bright as the back. Is it a
> variation on the common wood nymph or something different? I will be
> sending it  in. Patty Lambert
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