Saturday, April 27, 2013
There! See? An orangetip rests on the oak leaf litter, right in the middle of the photograph. Such a view is typical of this species. Sharp-eyed and leery, the orangetips are quick to take wing when approached, and in the blink of an eye will be hundreds of feet away.
Falcate Orangetips are a southerner, and best sought in the hill country of southern and eastern Ohio. I made these images in Shawnee State Forest where they are plentiful. An essential ingredient in the ecological orangetip recipe is mustards. Like many other species in the White family of butterflies, the orangetips must have mustards to deposit their eggs upon, which the caterpillars will fatten up on. A favored host plant seems to be Smooth Rock Cress, Arabis laevigata, but they will use the more plentiful toothworts as well.
But even Falcate Orangetips must take a break and this one finally did. An orangetip in repose tightly appresses its wings over its body, and becomes one with the leaf litter. By slipping to the ground, and scootching along on my belly, I was able to get right on top of the animal, and capture the best images that I've made to date of one of these little stunners.