June 22, 2010


Photographer: Tommy Hornbeck
Summary Author: Tommy Hornbeck

June 2010 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's ChoiceFor a variety of reasons, mimicry is common in nature. The male Coral Hairstreak butterfly, shown above, gives its best impression of the Butterfly Milkweed upon which it's alighted, hoping to attract a mate. If the lure is successful, the female will then lay her eggs in the litter at the base of the plant. When the caterpillars emerge, they'll hide during the day and feed on the leaves and fruit of the plant at night. The flower heads of milkweeds are particularly appealing to butterflies since they're loaded with nectaries. This means that butterflies have a high likelihood of finding food, even if other butterflies just previously visited the same flower. The Coral Hairstreak's (Satyrium Titus) habitat is in brush-lands, open woodlands, and stream sides across the same basic area where the Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias Tuberosa) resides -- throughout much of the U.S. Photo taken in Nevada, Missouri on May 25, 2010.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON; Camera Model: E8700; Focal Length: 27.3mm (35mm equivalent: 110mm); Aperture: f/4.1; Exposure Time: 0.0049 s (1/203); ISO equiv: 50; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Partial; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No; Color Space: sRGB.