On a lovely walk along Discovery Trail yesterday afternoon, naturalist Emily Boves and I discovered a delicate little butterfly, flitting amongst spring wildflowers. The butterfly is a Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea).
The Falcate Orangetip is one of the true harbingers of spring, flying through vernal woodlands only a few feet above the ground. This particular butterfly allowed us to get within a few feet of it, which gave us the opportunity to study its beautiful markings.
The top of the wings are white, with black spots near the front edge of the forewings, which have a very characteristic hooked tip. Only the males (shown in the photo) have bright yellow-orange coloration at the tip. On the underside of the wing both sexes have heavily marbled markings, usually of gray-green or yellow.
Be sure to stop by the trail surrounding the Ijams Homesite for a true taste of the color and sounds that represent spring in East Tennessee!
- Text by Jennifer Roder, photo by Emily Boves.