29 May 2012
A beautiful butterfly saddled with the dreadful scientific name Limenitis arthemis astyana. It's reasonably common because it is able to utilize a wide variety of trees (cherry, willow, aspen, poplar, birch, juneberry, basswood, hawthorn, apple) as host plants for its caterpillars. It looks a bit like a Black Swallowtail or Pipevine Swallowtail, but of course lacks the "tail" that defines the swallowtails.
The "red-spottedness" is barely visible on the wingtips from above, but is much more apparent on the undersurface of the wings, which I was not able to photograph. This fellow (?lady) was basking on fresh oak leaves at the Gotham Jack Pine Barrens State Natural Area last weekend (hiking path plotted on Pedometer).
I've never been successful in locating any eggs or caterpillars. I would love to raise some because I would like to see one emerge fresh from a chrysalis. Those wings are truly iridescent and frankly awesome in real life. The photo enlarges with a click (and I'm currently using it for my wallpaper).