Re the Mustard or WV Whites: The spring brood of the Mustard White is quite
heavily marked below, with strong and sharp yellowish brown edging on the HW
veins (in particular) and the ground color of the wings is a "clean" white.
In the WV White, the edging of the veins below is suffuse, dirty brown, and
the whole appearance of the wings below (and above) is smudgy and "dirty".
Later broods of Mustard Whites lack the edging of the veins and are almost
unmarked, but by that time (into mid-June and beyond) the WV White is gone
anyway so their can be no confusion.
Also, I'm not sure where Rupert is (without looking it up), but if you're
seeing these things in the true Canadian Zone forest areas (northern
hardwoods and black spruce without a mixture of more southern deciduous)
then almost without doubt you're looking at Mustards, because the WV is a
Transition Zone species and the Mustard is primarily (now, anyway) a
Canadian Zone species with comparatively few populations left in the
Transition. (Why the Mustard has declined within the past 100 years or so
from Transition Zone areas is a mystery...many authors have written about
this...initially it was thought that the introduction of the Cabbage into
North America played a part, but other factors are now suspected).
Also, while both are not strong fliers, it seems to me that the Mustard
flies a bit higher (sometime as much as 1-1/ 2 meters above the gorund) and
a bit more powerfully than the WV, which is a ground-hugging butterfly,
which usually cannot fly long between rests (but sometimes I've seen it do
so - but it always stays just above the vegetation).
Everyone should be carefully noting behavior of such simialr species, a well
as where and when they are being seen, and which plants the females (and
males) are frequenting- these are often just as good clues as the field
Re the Tiger: No, it's not too early for an Eastern...again, depending upon
where you are...Easterns are not expected to be seen in the Canadian
Zone...But it IS perhaps (a week + or so, depending on the weather - last
year canadensis was very late - I did not see it on a trip to northern NH on
June 10th and typically by that time they're out in good numbers) too early
for a Canadian...If you can ever catch one of these spring (mid-May) Tigers,
please let me know...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Davie Rolnick [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 11:09 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Black Swallowtails
> On May 17, Eastern Comma, a couple of assumed Spring Azures (just saw them
> flying), and a white species not a cabbage. It looked exactly like the
> ones the
> group in Arlington had seen the day before, so I thought Mustard.
> then Kent McFarland said those were really West Virginia Whites, so I
> that. However, over the past few days, it's been frequenting a sort of
> (Yellow Rocket) so I'm back at square one.
> On May 18, the same white, some more assumed azures, and a Red Admiral.
> Yesterday, a white or two (probably one was the old one), two Black
> (with yellow markings and all and, therefore, not just a black phase of
> Eastern Tiger), two Red Admirals, more azures or blues or whatever (I
> caught one,
> and it looked more like a Spring Azure than anything else), a lady
> and a tiger swallowtail species. This last looked rather yellower than a
> Canadian Tiger, and yet was a bit too early for an eastern. Sadly, it
> only landed
> once and then very briefly and, anyway, I didn't know what to look for as
> only looked up the diagnostic features afterwards.
> Davie Rolnick, Rupert VT
> PS This was all in clearings around my house, which is on a mountain,
> surrounded by woods, and, unfortunately, not in a priority block.
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