|Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly – Enodia anthedon |
The Northern Pearly Eye has only recently been determined a species in its own right.
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Northern Pearly Eye feeding on oak tree sap
I came across a tree sap party one day in late June 2004. There were a dozen or more Northern Pearly-eyes and Little Wood Satyrs all clustering on one pin oak tree that was oozing sap at several locations. That sap was like catnip for those butterflies. They kept coming and going and jockeying for position, it was really a sight to see.
The Northern Pearly Eye has only recently been determined a species in its own right. The larva feed on forest grasses instead of the cane favored by the more southern Pearly Eye. The Northern Pearly Eye is confined to forests and their borders. It tolerates more shade than most other butterflies. And, unlike most other butterflies, it is not attracted to flowers, preferring tree sap, carrion and scat for its nutritional needs. It often perches on tree trunks, leaves and bushes, often gathering in groups like the ones pictured here.
Antenna club has orange, black-ringed tip.
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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.