Sunday, June 15, 2014

Butterflies Love Tree Sap

After photographing butterflies for quite some time, I learned only in the last year that they love sipping tree sap as well as flower nectar.  Now when we are out in the backyard or in the woods, we look for them on tree trunks.  Sometimes, they are almost impossible to see on a tree because their color and patterns are a perfect camouflage.

There are three species of butterflies enjoying the sap on this tree.  The first, left to right, is a Question Mark, then a Hackberry Emperor and a Red Admiral.  I've posted photos of these three with their wings open, revealing gorgeous colors, starting with the Question Mark.

The Question Mark is fairly common in the eastern part of the US.  Some are migratory.  This photo shows the summer form as it's color is modified in the winter.

Below is the Hackberry Emperor, widespread in it's habitat.  Adults mainly perch on trees.

Then a Red Admiral which is a familiar butterfly, but not likely to be confused with any other because of his striking coloration.

In this photo below of a another collection of butterflies getting nourishment from the sap of a tree, again we have a Red Admiral and a Hackberry Emperor, but have added a Goatweed Leafwing shown on the right.

On the inside, the Goatweed Leafwing is a striking red-orange.

I love the way the sunlight is shining through the wings of these two butterflies in the next photo, a Question Mark and a Goatweed Leafwing.  The light brings out tinges of their inside colors, otherwise they would completely blend in with the texture and color of the tree trunk.

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