This week has been a wet one across the region. Despite the deluge of hazardous rain droplets, many butterflies have been emerging.
This week I saw my first monarch of the season and a small but very brightly colored American copper butterfly at the Kankakee Sands Prairie in Indiana.
The American copper or small copper (Lycaena phlaeashypophlaeas) is unique because it can be found across about three quarters of the world. The butterflies of Indiana Field Guide indicates a belief that it was native to New England and they migrated to the Midwest along with some of it’s food sources. The Butterflies and Moths of North America show that most sightings in the U.S. are east of the Mississippi River.
The caterpillar of the American copper feeds on a coupler umex species and notably the introduced rumex acetosella or sheep’s sorrel.
This one I saw was very fresh as a new butterfly as it could not fly very well and stayed mostly stationary, which allowed me to sneak up on it with just my cellphone. A minor miracle.
Have you seen any butterflies out in on your hikes or in your yard? There should be several species active now and with 80-degree days coming at the end of this week I expect activity to pick up.