All of these butterflies were found in central Massachusetts July-September 2017.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) Male red admirals are territorial. Territories tend to be oval in shape, 8-24 feet long, and 13-42 feet wide. In order to maintain their territory, males must fly around and patrol an area dozens of times per hour. Only males of exceptional flying ability are able to prevent intruding males and successfully court females. (Wilkipedia)
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) This species is closely related to other fritillaries, but there are important differences in their life history. They have two or three broods per year vs. one per year (as Great Spangled Fritillary) ; they are nomadic vs. sedentary--the ones we see here are flying in from other states ; and they use a wide range of host plants vs. just violets.
Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas) Caterpillars of this species eat the flower buds, flowers, seeds and new leaves of their host plants in the L-legume family like yellow sweet clover, alfalfa, vetch, white clover, wild pea, bush clover, and tick-trefoil. Eastern Tailed-blues overwinter as caterpillars (often in the seed pod of their legume host) and pupate the following spring.
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) This was a good flight year for this seasonal immigrant species. It is a regular summer and fall immigrant into Massachusetts, but it cannot survive winters here so far as is known. It re-populates southern New England each year from larger populations further south, and is able to produce one or more generations here, depending on the date of arrival.
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) Two distinct phenotypes of Limenitis arthemis, the southern-based Red-spotted Purple (non-banded) and the northern-based White Admiral (white banded), occur in Massachusetts. The two forms were long treated as separate species, and they are sufficiently differentiated that most authors today refer to them as subspecies. The state is in the blend zone between these two venerable forms, so that many intergrades (“hybrids”) are also found here. (Butterflies of Massachusetts web-site)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Sightings of this popular species were more frequent this summer than in the past two years, but the species is still in decline. A study published in Science News this spring made a strong case that the reasons for this decline go far beyond what's happening on the wintering grounds. The study provides the first empirical evidence of a negative association between glyphosate (the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup) application and local abundance of adult monarch butterflies during 1994-2003, the initial phase of large-scale herbicide adoption in the Midwest. Reduction of milkweed plants available as host plants may be one big reason for the shrinking Monarch population.
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) Like our other migratory skippers, Fiery Skipper typically arrives in Massachusetts toward the middle or end of the summer season. It may become a temporary colonist, perhaps raising a brood, but it does not persist here owing to lack of cold tolerance. It cannot survive the winter.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) This large and showy species is one of the most familiar butterflies in Massachusetts. The first known drawing of a North America butterfly was of an eastern tiger swallowtail. It was drawn by John White in 1587 during Sir Walter Raleigh's third expedition to Virginia. (Wikipedia)
Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus) In Massachusetts, the main plants that host the caterpillars of this butterfly appear to be oaks, especially red (Quercus rubra) and scrub (Q. ilicifolia) oaks.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) This migratory species occurred in high numbers in Massachusetts this year. While warm season migrations are often easily observed, e.g. hundreds sometimes seen flying onshore during a migratory movement, autumn migrations take place at high altitude, which explains why these migrations are seldom witnessed.
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) Various species of native violets have reported to serve as a larval host plant for the great spangled fritillary, including the native round-leaf violet (Viola rotundifolia), the arrow-leaf violet (Viola fimbriatula) and the common blue violet (Viola sororia).
Northern Pearly-Eye ( Lethe [Enodia] anthedon) This butterfly is the region’s most forest-adapted butterfly. Its larval hosts are woodland grasses; adults feed on sap from tree wounds. Northern Pearly-Eye is usually found in the shady under-story, rather than the sunny canopy, and is often perched head-downward on tree trunks. (Butterflies of Massachusetts website)