Butterfly News

by Carl Strang

Butterflies continue to be diverse and abundant this spring, and last week brought some news to share from Mayslake Forest Preserve. Earlier I commented that question mark butterflies had a surprisingly delayed appearance, showing up in numbers on May 4 but not earlier as one would expect from overwintering individuals. I found a reference indicating that, like red admirals and some others we’ve been seeing this spring, question marks can migrate north in spring.

They looked fresh and clean in early May, like this one from a previous year, but last week I noticed that they now appear worn and tattered.

The butterfly highlight last week was an addition to the preserve species list.

This is the first gray hairstreak I have seen at Mayslake.

Also remarkable was an early-season eastern tailed-blue.

This relative of the hairstreaks usually doesn’t appear in noticeable numbers until mid-summer or so.

I made a mental note that I need to take a close look at all these little blue butterflies. Obviously I can no longer assume they are all spring azures.

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