Sunday, August 09, 2009

SNP Monarch

Although Willard & I didn’t locate any bachelor groups of mature bucks during our Friday morning visit to Shenandoah National Park we did encounter a good number of Monarch Butterflies visiting the milkweed plants that are prevalent in Big Meadows.

Many of our fellow bloggers have been noting the unusually low population of butterflies so far this year. The situation seems to be quite wide spread. I along with others have noted that it may be connected to the unusually cool and wet weather experienced in the eastern United States this spring and summer.

A news release dated August 6th from the Pennsylvania Game Commission may shed more light upon this subject. The news release deals with the recent outbreak of gypsy moth that we experienced here in Pa. By all indications this year should have proven to be devastating to our forest. Thankfully that was not to be.

According to this news release the caterpillars were hit by both a fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga and a virus Lymantria dispar Multienveloped Nuclear Polyhedrosis, both deadly to the emerging caterpillars.

Although no mention is made of these diseases affecting other caterpillar species it is possible that they also took their toll on some of our favorite outdoor photographic subjects.


Brad Myers said...

Thanks for the info Coy, we have gardens planted designed to attract butterflys and we normally have many. This year we had almost none until last week, they showed up in force along with some hummingbird moth. Now to stop working long enough to sit out back and photograph a few.

Lori said...

Hi Coy....Beautiful shot.

Am trying to get back into blogging and reading. Been a busy - but great - summer.

Hope you and Brenda are well!

photowannabe said...

Interesting information Salty. We are seeing very few butterflies here on the West Coast too.

Anonymous said...

I managed to see and photograph two Monarchs this year and two Tiger swallowtails. That's about it. And I also noticed your orange color is as visit as it is on my Pick a peck of Pixels blog.

Leedra said...

Gorgeous shot, I have a hard time capturing the Monarch with open wings so nicely. The milkweed just adds to the beauty of the photo.

Hope the butterflies are back up in numbers next year, it has been disappointing this year.

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Catherine said...

Haven't seen a Monarch yet~usually don't until sept. when the goldenrod is blooming! But I have enjoyed your beautiful Monarch capture!