Monday, January 01, 2018

Regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia)

Rare and declining across most of its range due to disturbance of tallgrass prairie habitat, mainly through conversion to cropland. 
Top photo taken 8/12/15 in northern McKenzie County, ND at the head of native wooded draw in mixed-grass prairie, getting nectar in a colony of wavyleaf thistle (Cirsium undulatum).
Bottom photo taken on 9/8/13 in southwestern McKenzie County, ND, on wavyleaf thistle, at the edge of its range and the edge of its life. Imagine losing yourself to abrasion. This was a late-season discovery.  
Serendipity, it seems. These two specimens were surprise findings, as they were photographed with 60-80x telephoto lenses and the photos weren't examined on a big screen until later that evening.

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