In follow-up to the post of November 9 here are more photos of “rosa” morph buckeyes, showing their wide range of forms.
Thanks to the photographers listed here for passing their shots along.
See the earlier post — below — for a synopsis of Professor Kelly C. Smith’s article investigating the causes of these forms and presenting his break-down of the spectrum of morphs.
And for a question to consider for next spring, see the end of this post and a photo from April, 2012.
And looking ahead to next spring…
What do you make of the individual below, found dead and photographed by Will Kerling at Lizard Tail on 4-15-12? Its diminutive size catches your eye first (Will and others found a number of runt buckeyes flying that spring), but the reds in the ventral hind-wing and the tip of the ventral fore-wing also show “rosa expression.”
That red, the date, and the wing-wear (and possibly also its dwarfed-size) suggest this is an individual that went through the three first life stages — egg, caterpillar, and pupa the previous fall (2011). It almost certainly eclosed in fall, 2011, and survived the winter as an adult. Whether it over-wintered in South Jersey or migrated into the state in April, 2012, is hard to know. Winter and spring of 2012 were especially mild and we had records for adult buckeyes in January, February, and March, so at least some buckeyes managed to over-winter in South Jersey that year. (2012 still holds the most earliest-ever dates on our log).
Can our South Jersey Butterfly Project document “rosa morph” buckeyes in spring 2016? They could be fun to search for. Most buckeye spring flyers are migrants from southern states, according to the literature, and most years we see our first arrivals in mid- to late April. If the first we see this coming spring are red forms (and if Smith is correct suggesting that lower temperatures and shorter days are the primary causes of the polyphenism), they have likely over-wintered to the south as adults — after moving through the first three life stages and probably into adulthood sometime between August and November, 2015. Could they have flown both ways? South from their natal areas here out of the state and then back to NJ in spring?