Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
August 1-2, 2007

We made a circle through Missouri, picking up my photo exhibit from the Green Center in University City near St. Louis and bringing it to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Springfield Nature Center. While in Springfield, we spent 2 days at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, one of my favorite places to find butterflies in Missouri. There were literally thousands of Hackberry Emperors – at one point, while trying to take photos, I actually brushed a few butterflies off of my shirt because there were so many they were distracting me. Wilson’s Creek allows horse riding on at least some of the trails, and the droppings prove irresistible for many butterflies. As we’d walk past a pile of dung on the trail, masses of butterflies would rise up. Laying on the ground next to it for photos was fairly unpleasant. Species highlights included Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma) and Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades).

Most Chalcid wasps are parasites in pupae of either flies, butterflies or moths. This one was at a bagworm.

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