Butterflies

 

The following photographs represent my chance encounters. If you're looking for a systematic photographic survey, I recommend the Butterflies of New Mexico web site maintained by Joe Schelling.

 

When you encounter a slide show, you can hover your cursor over the images to control them.

 


Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)

 

In the first series of images (taken during a hike to San Miguel Mountain, part of Nacimiento Ridge in the Jemez Mountains) the butterflies are feeding from Chamisso Arnica flowers. The second series was taken during a hike up Redondo Creek in Valles Caldera National Preserve. In those photos, the butterflies are feeding from dandelions. The series also includes one photo from a hike on Mt. Taylor; those butterflies seemed more interested in each other than in feeding.

 


Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The Painted Lady has four to five small but obvious eye spots on the underside of each hind wing. In contrast, the American Lady has two large eye spots below. Each warm season, Painted Lady butterflies migrate northward from wintering grounds in northern Mexico.


Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

When I encountered this butterfly lying on the stream bottom in San Lorenzo Canyon, I thought it was dead. After my first couple of photographs I tried to turn it over, and it fluttered off. Not very far—it must have been near the end. Still, one tough critter to have lasted so late into the fall.


Arizona Sister (Adelpha eulalia)

 

Arizona Sisters supposedly prefer oak woodlands and settings with water. Both of those habitat values can be found in Hondo Canyon at the south end of the Crest Trail in the Sandia Mountains.


Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

 

In July 2019 I found Western Tiger Swallowtails feasting on mountain figwort nector, while hanging on at odd angles. A different photo from the same hike, which shows one of these butterflies hanging off a scarlet bugler, allows you to see the splashes of blue and orange at the base of the wings.


Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

 

The two photos from June 2019—taken in low light, so grainy—show the black swallowtail's characteristic colors and wing outlines. The photo from a few weeks later shows just how ragged and colorless the wings can become. Although the butterfly in the July photo was no doubt near the end of its life, it was fluttering gamely along.


Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)

 

These gorgeous butterflies clearly aren't above sipping from fresh scat. If you look closely at the image from Sulphur Canyon, you can see a fly and a second insect just below the scat. The handheld butterfly from Mount Taylor was lying dead on the CDT when we came by.


Checkered White (Pontia protodice)

Checkered White Butterfly, Pontia protodice, Sandia Mountains, Cibola National Forest, New Mexico
Female, Embudito Trail, May 2019