Sighted at McCrory: Red admirals in disguise and another good-old butter-colored fly

This is the first post of what I expect to be highly irregular yet hopefully unique reports of insect sightings at McCrory Gardens in Brookings, SD. I, my wife and our baby enjoy McCrory gardens about once a week especially in the spring and fall. Each time we spot a blog-worthy insect during our walk, I’ll try to share it on this blog.
This past weekend, McCrory Gardens was teeming with butterflies, mostly Pierid butterflies and red admirals. We were walking past the ┬áthe cottage garden when I saw something I’ve never noticed about red admirals before. Take a look at the picture above if you please.
The picture above shows a spread of leaf litter right outside the small cottage. Now, try to spot a red admiral hidden among the litter.
Found it yet? If not, try the picture below for a size. This second picture was taken at a more or less same angle as the first one with a bit of a zoom.
A bit clearer, eh? Indeed, I’ve not noticed that red admirals blend rather well with leaf litters. The underside of the wings is dull and blend even better with dead leaves (I tried to wait until it rested flat-winged but my patience ran over pretty quickly), but even with the bright red lines on the upperside of the wings they still seemed to disguise themselves quite fine. The picture below shows the closest zoom of the three pics I took.
Red admirals are fun. They belong to the family Nymphalidae or brush-footed butterflies. Other popular nymphalids include emperor and tortoiseshell butterflies. Red admirals are readily found in backyard gardens and I’ve heard stories that once a red admiral chose a garden to be its home, it also adopts the gardener alighting on him/her quite unabashedly.
As a parting image of this first-ever ‘Sighted at McCrory’ posting, below is a picture of a Pierid butterfly taken at the gardens. Pieridae is a family of butterfly commonly identified by its yellow-white-orangish wing color. The story goes that the word ‘butterfly’ was first coined in conjunction with the color property of a pierid butterfly: butter-colored fly.
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