Emperor of Confusion

Oak Point Rowlett Creek Trail 06/15/2014
Oak Point 06/15/2014
I believe this lovely posing model to be a Hackberry Emperor butterfly, but just reading about Asterocampa celtis  is enough to addle me. Hackberry Emperor males differ from females in wing shape and coloration. Hackberry Emperors are widespread. They are fearless in pursuit of salt, and will land on your shirt and hat if you are sufficiently sweaty. It almost makes up for being a perspiration disaster. Hackberries like rotting fruit and sap, too.

Oak Point 10/03/2012
Some Hackberry butterflies are related to the Empress Leilia, some to the Tawny Emperor, some to Empress Antonia and Empress Alicia (a name which is applied to two different species). Appropriately, figuring out the Asterocampa-celtis family line is much like studying the Hapsburg Dynasty family tree. And as Emperor Joseph II did or did not say to Mozart, there are "too many notes".

The two photos above were taken at the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas, June 11, 2012.

The next were taken on the Spring Creek Trail in Richardson, TX, May 2012 showing a butterfly fresh out of the chrysalis with the green tinge to its body.

In May 2013 at that location I put together more of the Hackberry life cycle. At least I hope so! Because these butterflies are so common at area preserves, they nominate themselves for student science fair projects.

Keep observing. Keep perspiring!

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