Tawny Emperors, like the Harvesters mentioned in the previous Journal entry, are butterflies that do not visit flowers, getting their nourishment from sap, carrion, scat, decaying fruit and mud. These butterflies, along with their close relatives Hackberry Emperors, are well known for landing on passersby and sipping their perspiration.
If you sweat and have walked anywhere near a hackberry tree you may have had one of these leps buzzing around you as you passed, maybe even land on you. I’ve had one stick with me for about a quarter mile on a recent hike.
There must be something on that Big Duck out in the Wetlands that attracted this Emperor, its proboscis was going a mile a minute while I watched it move around Big Duck’s eyelashes. Maybe it was Big Duck’s tears (joyful tears, I’m sure) that the butterfly was after. Maybe there are some minerals on Big Duck’s head from her tipping up in the water to feed. Whatever it was, the butterfly seemed content lapping it up from Big Duck’s lashes.
By the way, wondering what’s up with the ducks in the Wetlands. Here’s the lowdown!
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
He can be found Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dinosaur Trail. Ask him what’s new in the wild!