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Archive for June, 2012

Alypia octomaculata eight spotted forester moth

Attractive insect in my garden

I first encountered the attractive insect in the above photo about 15 years ago, feeding on the flowers of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) growing in my garden. Here’s what I recorded in my notes—“black with two pale yellow spots on front wings and two white spots on rear wings; orange blobs on legs; about 1 ¼” wide; no large knobs on ends of antennae; beautiful!” I consulted several butterfly field guides but was unable to identify it.

 

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You first catch a glimpse of black wings that flit and flutter in the vegetation on the banks of a tranquil woodland stream. You go for a closer look and see a creature alight softly on a leaf, black wings poised sail-like above a long, slender, iridescent green or blue body. There, it remains mostly motionless except for its head, with two enormous black eyes, that follows you as you move about. You’ve just found a male Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata), a common damselfly of eastern North America.

Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata male

Ebony Jewelwing male

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