In the heat of the summer we watched a fritillary butterfly ballet atop the purple cone flowers. The most common butterfly we have observed in the last few days has been the Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly.
While one butterfly seems interested in the nectar from the purple cone flower, the other butterfly seem interested in some other nectar!
With probocis’ curled, noone is drinking in the flower’s nectar at this moment.
Curled sippers at the moment.
The hind wing on this butterfly shows a reflection of the flower’s petal color. Notice the pink cast to the usually white or silver spots. This could be a means of blending in with the environment for the sake of avoiding predators.
As one butterfly repositions on the head of the cone flower his wings open to retain balance.
Wings are spread to maintain balance.
The forewing patterns are different between the male and female of this species. The male has mostly black spots and lines on an orange background, while the female has a lighter tan background and white spots near the edge of the wing with black lines on the inner part of the forewing. Notice how the female holds her hindwing in a more forward position than the male. Is this a submissive posture or an invitation?
We never actually caught these two in the act, but I assure you that plenty of butterfly love is happening all around the cone flowers and the purple-flowered butterfly bush, too!