Friday, May 13, 2011

Oklahoma part 1 - Lexington WMA

The first full day of my trip to Oklahoma to visit my sister began with a tour of the Lexington Wildlife Management Area northeast of Lexington, about a half hour south of Norman, Oklahoma. My sister and I met up with a local butterfly expert who gave us a great tour of the area (thanks Bryan!).  I wouldn't have spotted or known where to look for the sachem skipper, red-banded hairstreak, spring azure, and possibly others without his help.  We came to a total of 24 butterfly species, 15 of which were new species for me.  We also saw a western pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri), several Blanchard's cricket frogs (Acris blanchardi, click here for sound links), and an indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea, also a first for me).  As always, please click on the photos for slightly larger versions.
My sister at Dahlgren Lake, in the middle of the Lexington WMA
Pygmy rattlesnake - notice the nearly indistinguishable rattle(s) on the tip of the tail. These sound like an insect buzzing and often go unnoticed or may not be heard.
Pygmy rattlesnake - after Bryan encouraged it to get off the road and pose for our cameras.
Blanchard's cricket frog at Dahlgren Lake
In addition to all the butterflies, we saw a few tiger beetles on the shore of the lake, and Bryan pointed out a toothpick grasshopper which we had never seen before, and perfectly matched the grass it was sitting on.
Oblique-lined tiger beetle (Cicindela tranquebarice)
Toothpick grasshopper (likely Leptysma marginicollis)
Our list of butterfly species is as follows (* indicates entirely new species for me, doesn't count subspecies, links connect to the Butterflies of America species pages).
Hesperiidae - skipper family
*Thorybes pylades pylades - northern cloudywing - 1 (ssp. found in WA is T. p. indistinctus)
*Thorybes bathyllus - southern cloudywing - 12
Epargyreus clarus clarus  - silver-spotted skipper - 2 (ssp. found in western WA is E. c. californicus)
*Achalarus lyciades - hoary edge - 4
*Atalopedes campestris huron - sachem - 1 (ssp. found in WA is A. c. campestris)
Amblyscirtes vialis - common roadside-skipper - 2 (sp. also found in northwest)
Papilionidae - swallowtail family
*Papilio glaucus glaucus - eastern tiger swallowtail - 1 male
*Papilio polyxenes asterius - black swallowtail - 1
Pieridae - whites & sulphurs
Colias eurytheme - orange sulphur - 1 (sp. also found in northwest)
Nathalis iole iole - dainty sulphur - 1
Lycaenidae - hairstreaks, blues, coppers
*Calycopis cecrops - red-banded hairstreak - 1
Cupido comyntas comyntas - eastern tailed blue - 5 (ssp. found in western states is C. c. sissona)
*Celastrina ladon - spring azure - 2
Nymphalidae - true brush-footed butterflies
Phyciodes tharos tharos - pearl crescent - 1
*Chlosyne nycteis nycteis - silvery checkerspot - 1
*Euptoieta claudia - variegated fritillary - 2
*Vanessa virginiensis - American lady - 5
Vanessa atalanta rubria - red admiral - 1 (sp. also found in northwest)
Junonia coenia coenia - northern (common) buckeye - 3
*Polygonia interrogationis - question mark - 8
*Anaea andria - goatweed leafwing - 8
*Asterocampa celtis antonia - hackberry emperor - 3
*Megisto cymela cymela - little wood-satyr - 12
Danaus plexippus plexippus - monarch - 2 (1 female, 1 unknown, same sp. as in northwest)

Southern cloudywing at Dahlgren Lake
Southern cloudywing (left) and common roadside skipper (right) on green milkweed
Silver-spotted skipper on blackberry (note the 'clean' markings)
Hoary edge skipper (note the smudged markings compared to silver-spotted skipper)
Hoary edge skipper
Eastern tiger swallowtail (male) on shore of Dahlgren Lake
Red-banded hairstreak (yes it's that small!)
Spring azure
Silvery checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Silvery checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
American painted lady on evening primrose (along with some buprestid beetles)
American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Question mark near coyote scat
Question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)
Little wood satyr (Megisto cymela), with a possible bird strike on one of the wing eyespots.
Finally, here is a photo of white wild indigo (Baptisia alba) that I'm including for my mom, who is interested in natural dyes.  We also saw some blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis) but I didn't get a photo of it.  These aren't related to the true indigo plant from India (Indigofera tinctoria), but they do have blue dye potential.
White wild indigo (aka white false indigo)

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