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Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Emperors (subfamily Apaturinae) and Snouts (subfamily Libytheinae), family Nymphalidae

These are two very small sub-families that have one thing in common: their larvae feed exclusively on hackberries.  The adult butterflies of the Hackberry Emperor stand out in a number of ways: they circle wildly around people, frequently landing on them (inserting their probosces through cloth, apparently to take in minerals from sweat), or just go up high in trees. 

Emperors (Asterocampa genus)

Tawny Emperors (Asterocampa clyton)

Tawny Emperor, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 9/11/04.  Not the best photographic angle, but enough to identify this butterfly.  This is a deep woods butterfly, even more reclusive than the Hackberry Emperor.  I found it in a tree, and managed to scare it to the ground. Tawny Emperor, Penny's Bend, Durham, NC, 8/24/05.  Dorsal view. Tawny Emperor,  Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, 9/16/05.  See ventral view below.

 

Tawny Emperor, Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC, 8/24/05 Tawny Emperor, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/24/05. Tawny Emperor,  Johnston Mill, Orange County, NC, 7/1/06

Hackberry Emperors (Asterocampa celtis)

Hackberry Emperor.  This butterfly landed on my arm and was apparently taking in my perspiration.  We never see any hackberry trees there, so maybe sweaty people are the main attraction!  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/23/07 Hackberry Emperor, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 8/8/10

American Snout (Libytheana bachmanii)

The "snout" is actually the butterfly's palps, which serve as sense organs.

American Snout, Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 3/17/06. American Snout, Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, NC, 8/28/10 American Snout on a Blackberry flower, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/2/10 American Snout, Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, 5/19/06 American Snout, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/24/05.  In flight. American Snout, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC 11/13/03.  This Snout relied mainly on camouflage for defense, resting its "snout" and antennae on this twig.  This was an unusual discovery, not simply because Snouts are uncommon here in NC, but because butterflies are rarely found in this park (as are fauna in general).

 

American Snout, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 6/11/04.  This Snout bounced around in the air like a Carolina Satyr before trying to blend in with the scenery by landing on this rose bush.  The "snout" is actually two palps, organs of taste and smell. 

 

© Copyright 2005 Dorothy E. Pugh