Tag Archives: common buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The little things

One need not look far and wide to see natural beauty, for nature hides her splendor everywhere, even in the little things.

A robber fly (Laphria saffrana) perched on an old pipe (IMG_1076)

What looks like a bee represents mimetic adaptation, a robber fly (Laphria saffrana) wearing the apparel of a stinger to protect itself from predators, all the while hunting with the expert skill of a true killer.

A question mark (Polygonia interrogationis) licking minerals from the ground (IMG_0933)

A butterfly alighting within a sandy clearing stops to partake of minerals on the earth’s surface, the question mark (Polygonia interrogationis) appearing to most as a resting insect when in fact it hungrily consumes what it needs.

A blue mud wasp (a.k.a. blue mud-dauber; Chalybion californicum) perched in a dark windowsill (IMG_0788)

Upon a cloudy windowsill a blue mud wasp (a.k.a. blue mud-dauber; Chalybion californicum) lingers, waiting for sunlit warmth that will never come, still as petrified wood hoping no danger notices its lethargic morning.

A common buckeye (Junonia coenia) resting on the ground (IMG_0951)

Wings spread to soak up sunny warmth, a common buckeye (Junonia coenia) is all but invisible from the side.  At least until you stop to look.

Close-up of a regal jumper (a.k.a. regal jumping spider; Phidippus regius) holding its moth prey (IMG_1417)

A male regal jumper (a.k.a. regal jumping spider; Phidippus regius) holds fast to its moth breakfast, even in the face of photographic invasion, and both circle the gate hidden from prying eyes… at least prying eyes that fail to see.

Close-up of a Waved sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) resting on a pole (IMG_0401)

In shadows deep to avoid daytime heat, a waved sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) lingers in rest, waiting for the dark of night when it can pursue its only adult desire: mating.

No, one need not look far and wide to see natural beauty, for natural beauty can be found even in the little things.

For LD and nathalie with an h

nathalie with an h suffers from an allergy to wasp stings that rivals my own anaphylactic reaction.  You can therefore understand why she has been rather disapproving of my affinity for wasps and the resulting mania with which I’ve posted their photos recently[1].  She certainly has every right to be weary of them (and the spider I need to go rescue from her home before she does something untoward), so I gleefully enjoyed her ribbing me at Starbucks each morning about her not wanting to see more wasp photos.

LD dislikes insects in general.  Her own words do better justice to this phobia than any I could write.  In an e-mail to me about a horde of critters around their front porch[2], she said this: “I’m kind of a nut about bugs[3] and ones that fly REALLY freak me out.”  While some might think her a bit hysterical, she shares this manic fear with a majority of people.  Her feelings on the subject actually are quite normal in the scheme of human responses to insects.

Upon consideration of these two people and their collective view of insects, I felt behooved to share more of my fanaticism in this regard, only this time I want to post creatures I’m sure both of them would enjoy.  So, ladies, this is for you!

A painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) (20080412_03322)

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui)

A fall webworm moth (Hyphantria cunea) (20080314_02566)

Fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea)

A red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) (20080420_04206)

Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

A common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) (20080420_04300)

Common buckeye (Junonia coenia)

A white checkered-skipper butterfly (Pyrgus albescens) (20080601_05981)

White checkered-skipper (Pyrgus albescens)

An eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) (20080601_06173)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

A silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus) (20080701_08707)

Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

I hope both of you found a wee bit of respite in knowing this marvelous group of creatures offers you some of the most profound beauty and gentility that can be found on our planet.

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[1] Offering posts involving wasps happens to be something I’ve not yet completed this year, especially of my local cicada killers.  Be warned.

[2] I identified the insect invasion xocobra and LD have near their front door as being the result of eastern boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata).  My dear friends have another month or two before they need to take action on that problem.

[3] By “bugs,” LD actually means insects and not just true bugs[4], a subset of the class Insecta.

[4] True bugs constitute a type of insect in the order Hemiptera.  All true bugs have mouthparts capable of piercing tissues and sucking out fluids.  In addition, usually their forewings have hardened bases, their antennae are five-segmented, and their leg tarsi are three-segmented or shorter.