Bog Copper Butterfly (Family Lycaenidae)

Bog Coppers, also called Cranberry-bog Coppers, are with hairstreaks, coppers, and blues in the Gossamer-wing family Lycaenidae. They occur in a band across North America on either side of the Canadian border, as far south as northern Ohio/Pennsylvania/New Jersey, and Maryland, and never far from cranberry plants. They are extreme food specialists, the caterpillars eat only cranberry leaves.

White-lined Sphinx Moth (Family Sphingidae)

White-lined Sphinx Moths can be found from mid-spring until early fall in open areas (parks, gardens, grasslands, scrublands and deserts) throughout North America, from Canada to Central America and the West Indies (they’re also found in Europe). They gather nectar on a variety of “flat” flowers like apple but is able to reach deep into tubular flowers like petunias, columbine, and honeysuckle.

Tiger Swallowtail Junior (Family Papilionidae)

Tiger Swallowtails have been split into three species. and the latter three groups of trees are food plants of the Canadian swallowtail, a northern species that was a subspecies of the Eastern Tiger swallowtail until 20 years ago are listed as eating aspens, birches and willows. By comparison, our other two swallowtails have narrower palettes. Their connection to plants in the carrot family has earned Black swallowtails the nickname of “Parsley swallowtail,” and Giant swallowtails are tied to plants in the citrus family.

Two More Moths

The two moths that are featured today, the Walnut Sphinx and the Spotted Thyris, are pretty different from each other—one large, one small; a day flyer and a night-flyer; one from a very large family and one practically an only child; one well-biographied and the other barely known.

Salt Marsh Caterpillar Moths (Family Arctiidae)

Salt Marsh Caterpillar Moths like sunny places—wet, dry, and disturbed, and can be found from the Atlantic coast all the way to Alaska and the Yukon. The SMC is a very mobile little critter, moving fast and far looking for edibles. The females lays masses of —from 400 to 1,000 at once—on host plants, and she (not surprisingly) dies a few days later. The eggs hatch in four or five days, and the caterpillars hang out and feed together during their first two instars (more than quintupling their size) before going their separate ways.

Bronze Copper (Family Lycaenidae)

Adult Bronze Coppers, especially females, take some nectar. Caterpillars dine only on a few species of the dock (Rumex), especially water dock, and smartweed (Polygonum) in the smartweed family. BCs can be found in low, moist areas on both sides of the border from Maine west to the northern Great Plains and south to mid-country. Here in Wisconsin, they are rarer “up north.” One source suggested that the BC, like other coppers, favors areas where drainage is poor.

Hickory Tussock Moth (Family Arctiidae)

Hickory Tussock Moths are active in the daytime. They are found in deciduous woods in a range that runs diagonally across the continent from northeast to south-central—from Nova Scotia and Ontario to Texas and a bit west, nicking Wisconsin. After a male and female find each other in late spring, large masses of eggs (from 50 to several hundred) are deposited on the undersides of leaves. Often, when eggs are laid en masse, the resulting caterpillars also feed en masse. HTMs are leaf skeletonizers (they eat the green stuff in-between the leaf veins).

Bugs Without Bios I

The BugLady has many pictures of bugs about whom she is having trouble finding much information beyond their basic taxonomy, despite the glories of her home library and all the resources on the World-wide Web. Here is a batch of “Bugs without Bios.”

Pandorus Sphinx (Family Sphingidae)

Pandorus Sphinxs occupy North America from south Texas to Wisconsin to Nova Scotia to south Florida. They are found at dawn and dusk along forest and river edges and vineyards where their caterpillars’ food plants grow. Adults nectar on and pollinate bouncing bet, white campion and petunias.

Edwards’ Hairstreak (Family Lycaenidae)

Edwards’ hairstreaks live in savannahs, sand barrens, limy ridges, and the edges and openings of oak thickets. There, the adults nectar on flowers of a variety of legumes, dogbane, sumac, milkweeds (there’s a reason they call it Butterfly weed) and other summer flowers. EH caterpillars are oak-eaters, browsing first on the buds and later on the tender leaves. Young caterpillars eat during the day and apparently stay in the trees, but older caterpillars spend the day on the ground and feed in the trees at night.