Mariton: Butterfly Cenus

June 28, 2014

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.

MEBUS SilverSpottedSkipperOnMilkweedMariton0628

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.

MEBUS CoralHairstreakOnButterflyWeedMariton0628-3

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.

MEBUS TigerSwallowtailBlackMorphOnMolkweedMariton0628

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.

MEBUS GSFritillaryOnButterflyWeedMariton0628

MEBUS EasternTailedBlueOnButterflyWeedMariton0628

Eastern-tailed Blue