Mariton: Butterfly Cenus
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus.
We held the Annual Butterfly Census at Mariton on Saturday. We tallied 16 species and 112 individuals. That is a little low, especially considering that the milkweed and butterfly weed is in bloom. The fields smell great from the aroma of the milkweed.
Silver-spotted Skippers (above) were the most abundant species, and we counted 33 individuals. This is probably the first time that this species came in as the most abundant. Great-spangled Fritillaries or Cabbage White Butterflies are usually at the top. The Fritillaries came in a close second with 29 individuals.
Probably the highlight was a Coral Hairstreak that perched on a Butterfly weed for several minutes giving everyone a really good look at this small but beautiful butterfly.
Another good sighting was the black morph of a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Most people are familiar with the yellow tiger striped butterfly, but unaware that the female sometimes appears in a black morph. This butterfly was old and damaged, but we were able to see its black tiger stripes when the sun hit it just right.
I never get tired of seeing Great-spangled Fritillaries. They look especially beautiful on the butterfly weed.