All the photos on my webpage are copyright 1986-2007. They may be reproduced electronically/downloaded for personal use without my permission including computer wallpaper. Any disply must include photo credit. My photos may also be used for school projects and nonprofit/educational websites if photo credit and links to my website are provided. I still like to hear how my photos are being used and notified of use in websites. For commercial websites, my permission must be obtained and photo credits and a link to my page listed with the photos. Do not directly link to my photos as this increases my bandwith. I also move the locations of photos. For hardcopy material (not school projects) such as flyers, CD inserts, books etc., my permission must be obtained, and I may charge a small fee. (see next question). I will prosecute copyright violators.
Individual prints of my photos are not for sale with the exception of my photo of comet Hale-Bopp over the UVA Rotunda. I don't have the time to print and send individual photos. I will sell photos to books, magazines or other publications. This can be worked out through contacting me. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have already had several photos published. Go to "publications and video" for a complete listing of publications that have used my photos along with programs that have used my video.
I currently use a Nikon D200 and Nikon 105 macro lens. A few images were shot with a Canon SD800 IS camera. Images before 2006 (film instead of digital) were shot with a Nikon FG and Nikon 105 macro lens. I used Fuji Velvia. Older, pre-1999 pictures were done with a 50 mm lens and screw-on filter size close-up lenses. (usually +4 magnification.) The Kenya butterflies were shot with a Nikon 70-210 on macro function with either Kodak Gold or Royal Gold 100 or 200 film. The other photos using print film are all with Gold or Royal Gold 100. Most are taken with natural light. Some were with a Nikon ring light. Prints were scanned using a HP or Epson and are in jpeg format. Slides were scanned using a slide scanner. There have been some minor adjustments using Adobe Photoshop. The colors are natural.
My photos are JPEGs with minimal compression for the best quality images. Unfortunately, they will load more slowly because of file size. Please be patient, I think most are worth the wait. JPEG's which are greatly compressed load quickly but have more artifact and less detail.
Your monitor may be set at 256 colors which produces grainy images. My butterfly photos should appear like photographs with a wide variation in colors and shading. If not, change your monitor settings if possible to "millions of colors" rather than 256 colors.
Before e-mailing me, try some books at your local library or bookstore. The Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths is a good basic guide with some of the more common North American species. The Peterson Guide to Eastern Butterflies by Paul A. Opler/Vichai Malikul is a very informative field guide. There is a version for Western species. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies and the Butterflies Through Binoculars are also good books for information and identification. None of the easily available moth books give a complete listing of moths in North America (almost 10,500 species) but they will have the most common, important and colorful ones. Try A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America in the Peterson series by Charles Covell or The Moth Book by W. J. Holland. For internet sites, see my listing of lepidoptera links on my main lepidoptera photo page. There are several links that are marked as good for identification. Try those first before contacting me! If you are still having difficulty, you can e-mail me preferably with an attached photo. I admit that I do not know skippers or the smaller moths in much detail.
It is a hummingbird moth. There are three related species of sphinx moth in the Eastern North American area that are commonly called hummingbird or bee moths. They are sphinx moths in the genus Hemaris. The moths fly by day to drink nectar from flowers. The moths are harmless. Other sphinx moths will visit flowers at dusk. All sphinx moths that visit flowers will hover over them as they drink nectar.
Butterflies and moths belong to the same order of insects called lepidoptera which means scaly wings in Latin. In that order, there are families that are classified as butterflies and others as moths. This is a rather general and unscientific classification. Butterflies tend to be brightly colored, fly by day and have clubbed antennae. Moths usually fly by night and have feathery or thread-like antennae. There are exceptions to all these characteristics. North of Mexico, there are about 760 species of butterflies and over 10,000 species of moths. Mexico has about 2000 butterfly species.
I get requests like this all the time, usually with the due date in a couple of days. That is a lot of information. There are many of books out there on butterflies and moths at all levels. Try your local library. Don't use the internet as a main source of information though surfing the web is a lot more fun than looking for books. Try some of the books I listed above as a start.
In many areas, development is the main cause of a decline in butterflies. Woodlands and fields are paved for housing developments and shopping centers. In other cases, butterflies have actually increased. A mature woodland is a good habitat for only a few species. If it replaced by a disturbed area; for example, a weedy area along railroad tracks, more species can be found. Certain species thrive in disturbed areas while others die out.
Another reason people see less butterflies is that they grow up. Children notice things such as butterflies, bugs, frogs and other critters. As people get older, they are often too busy worrying about the rent or where their children are to notice details such as butterflies.
Generally no. Even if every adult butterfly is captured on sight, it is almost impossible to eradicate a healthy population. Collecting butterflies is generally a harmless activity and can be very educational. It also provides range and distribution information. Many scientists got their start as a child with a butterfly net. Unfortunately, a person with a butterfly net is very visible and makes an easy target while much more threatening activities such as unchecked development and pesticide use continues. A very localized colony of a rare species could be eliminated by collecting. These species are usually protected by law. The Lepidopterists' Society has a policy statement on collecting ethics which should be followed by collectors. Butterfly gardening, photography, and watching are rewarding activities for those who do not collect.
In the Peterson Field Guide, Eastern Butterflies, by Opler and Malikul, they state that butterflies have variable lifespans and even different generations can have different average lifespans. The monarchs that fly to Mexico can live up to seven months while the adults of the summer generations only live a few weeks. Butterflies that hibernate such as anglewings and mourning cloaks can live six months. Dry season butterflies in Florida can live a couple of months. Most butterflies live only a few days to a couple of weeks. The maximal lifespan is usually much longer than the normal lifespan because of predation.
Assuming you want to keep it and rear it to an adult, first look to see what it is eating. If it was not found on a leaf, give the caterpillar a choice of some nearby leaves. Try to identify it in a book such as The Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths or the Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Catterpillars by Thomas Allen has the best set of larval photos I've seen, and most of the butterflies are common throughout Eastern USA. If you find a match, try leaves that are listed as its host plant. Remember that wandering caterpillars have often finished eating and are looking for a place to pupate. Keep the caterpillar in a box or large container with leaves and something to pupate on such as a couple of sticks. Caterpillars can eat a lot. The books above are also good references for raising caterpillars. Don't be dissapointed if it dies. Many caterpillars are infected with parasites or caterpillar diseases. If it survives, you will be rewarded wit a beautiful butterfly or moth which should be released as soon as possible.
North of Mexico, there are about 760 species of butterflies and over 10,000 species of moths. Mexico has about 2000 butterfly species. Worldwide, there are about 140,000 species of butterflies and moths. Butterflies comprise around 20,000 species. Most are found in the tropics. In comparison, there are over one million species of insects and nearly 100,000 live in North America.
I don't know very much about insect infestations but there are some very good books available at your local bookstore or garden and home center.
If it is in a large container, leave it in place. If it is in a small jar, remove the pupae to a larger container. A small container will not allow the insect to fully expand its wings. Attached pupae should not be detached from its anchor. The container should be kept in a garage or protected area which is still affected by changes in temperature. This is especially important for pupae that overwinter. If it is exposed to indoor temperature, it may emerge at the wrong time and have no others of its kind to mate with when it is released. Also, there should be vents or air holes to allow air to circulate and allow moisture to enter. The pupae should be checked daily. Changes in color or the appearence of a minature wing through the shell herald emergence. If away for a few days, the container should be left open to allow it to escape on its own. Overwintering pupae don't have to be checked daily until the following spring. The books listed earlier have information on pupae.
Don't disturb it. The insect will find a place to expand its wings. Until then, the soft wet wings can be easily damaged. It will start to fly around in the container when it is ready to leave. Take it outside and release it as soon as possible. Moths should be released at night.