Friday, July 27, 2012

Sexing Polygonia spp. And Other Nymphalini Ponderings

From last morning.....from Wednesday's catch R.I.P my lovely you will be missed.

Ok I can't stand the wondering any longer.

On Wednesday I had the second most epic bug hunt ever (posts up later) in my beloved park for National Moth Week (Happy NMW everyone!!) and found a bunch of Nomophila nearctica flitting about the grasses and I captured 2 of those.

And of course the butterflies were as present as ever. I captured Polygonia comma and Polygonia interrogationis (1 of each) from that wonderfully lepidopteran/hymenopteran infested Elm tree that must've been leaking some sort of sap or resin (although I didn't see a thing) because they were all over it. *.*

All of this of course led to questions and realizations. I realized that as far as telling "who's who" the big ones are interrogationis and the smaller ones are comma. And they were both mixed in with each other on that blessed tree.

Which led to the questioning.........

Do Polygonia interrogationis & P. comma ever hybridize with each other? 

If populations are high enough and the "conditions" (whatever they are) are just this possible? Be it I've yet to observe Polygonia spp. mating (GOD how I hope to one day) I have to wonder.......

Are Polygonia spp. Nocturnal?

Don't worry I haven't lost it... :P

I've observed Polygonia interrogationis (?) flying around Kentucky Coffee Trees (Gymnocladus dioicus) at dusk. I have no idea what they were doing but it looked like it could the territorial dances.......Pairs of them were spiraling upwards and chasing each other perching on leaves, darting through the trees.

It was around 7:00-7:30PM around the time the sun starts setting. Sky was still blue but it was dimming fast so I couldn't stay too long lest I worry friends/family ^^

But what were they doing tat late? I've witnessed similar behaviors during the day but.......and then the P. interrogationis and P. comma that I had caught had more or less lulled me to sleep one night. They were fluttering around the pavilion thingy like crazy (it was late-ish 11:00?) and I just laid there on my bed and watched them until I fell asleep.

What's going on????

And last but not least.....

How does one sex Polygonia spp.?

Peterson's Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies depicts both summer and winter forms of Polygonia comma and P. interrogationis but not where I could use it to determine what I have so I was wondering.......greatly.

Would appreciate if someone could shed some light on all of this. They never cease to out do themselves.......such amazing creatures.

*Goes to do more research*

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