|Beauty with a Crescent beauty|
Most butterflies spend some time on moist soil, gravel and even dung, a behavior called puddling. They are collecting minerals they fail to get with the pure carbohydrate in nectar. This behavior can lead to large collections of different species, all gathering on a small area like college kids at a bar.
|Great Spangled Fritillary "Scalping"|
The snout gives them additional camouflage with their leaf-like wings appearing to be attached to a stem, their snout. They frequently add to the deception by hanging upside down from a stem.
The larval host plants for Snouts are Hackberry species- Celtis spp. In the South, they occasionally have population explosions, followed by mass migrations which have been known to darken the sky. These occur when a specific Hackberry leafs out following late summer rains in Texas. In 1921 a migration lasting 18 days was estimated to include more than 6 billion butterflies. (How do you count that many butterflies? Easy- you count their wings and divide by two.)
If you haven't had your snout full yet, there are great pictures at http://www.cirrusimage.com/butterfly_snout.htm.
p.s. Did you know there is a snout moth? Neither did I. See Mobugs