Finding Rare Butterflies

Right now in Iowa we have an opportunity to find some of the rare butterflies if we know where to look.  I will show you one way.

This is a common milkweed plant.  Milkweeds are highly attractive to butterflies of all kinds.  Here in Iowa we have a dozen or so milkweed species and butterflies like most of them.

This is a red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, a butterfly which has been extremely common this year.

But some of the hairstreaks are not so common.  Some of them only have one generation here, and live as adults for only a few weeks.  Since they are small, they are not seen so much.

The thing with hairstreaks and milkweeds is that once the hairstreak finds one, they have a tendency to stay on the flowers.  Often you can find more than one hairstreak on a single milkweed.

This is true with other species of milkweed than the common.  For example, butterfly milkweed is a great hairstreak flower.

This is a coral hairstreak, Satyrium titus.  Often you can spot hairstreaks on common milkweed from a pretty good distance because they break the round profile of the flowers.

This is a banded hairstreak, Satyrium calanus.  Hairstreaks often prefer to stay on milkweed flowers for an extended period of time.

This banded hairstreak will be on this flower for an extended period of time, but not by its choice.  A crab spider has captured it.  Rest in Peace, little hairstreak.

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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3 Responses to Finding Rare Butterflies

  1. Finn Holding says:

    Hairstreaks are uncommon in the UK too. I’d love to be able to take a series of photographs like these, they’re gorgeous!

  2. Pingback: Rare butterflies in the Netherlands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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