Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Red Admiral and Spring Emphemorals

On 17 April, Erika and I took our annual spring ephemeral hike at the Cannon River Wilderness Area near Northfield. We were not disappointed. We found mats of Wood Anemone (above) and Spring Beauty (below). A half-dozen other wildflower species littered the forest floor. (Ephemerals are wild flowers that bloom before the forest leafs out.)
Common among the ephemorals flitted Red Admiral butterflies. Robert Pyle, in his entertaining book,  Mariposa Road, explains that Red Admirals are misnamed. They should be named Red Admirables. 
Admiral actually refers to butterflies in the genus Limenitis. This name was mistakenly applied to our American butterfly, Venessa atlanta. Pyle consistently refers to this species as Red Admirable. Whatever you choose to call them, these butterflies are highly migratory but can also overwinter. This one probably overwintered, since fresh specimens are more red.

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