Northern Pearly-eye Enodia anthedon

Easily, one of my favorite butterflies. One of three related species in Arkansas. Both of the others, the Southern and Creole Pearly-eye, are much less common. This species uses the grass Chasmanthium, Inland Oats, for its caterpillar food plant. The other two use cane, Arundinaria. I have been encouraging the plant on my property, just to have this animal.

A very active butterfly. The bouncy, head-level flight is sometimes comical. Often wings through the tree trunks after it is flushed only to come back after several cycles to the same tree trunk. Frequently perches head down on the side of its chosen tree. This one was extracting essentials from a nice pile of raccoon stool. The number of eyespots on the forewing is variable. This species is separated from the Southern Pearly-eye most easily by the antennae bulbs which are black and orange. The Southern has all orange bulbs.

Note this one from Bell has only four spots on the forewing. Nice blues and purples in the mix of reflected color. Remains one of my very favorite butterflies.

 

Now that is sheen. This is a Mount Magazine NPE. Note four full spots on forewing. Voodoo beautiful.  
Very tough one. Never accomplished the open shot myself. From Bo in his home county. 

And compare the third Pearlyeye and generally least common. From Pine Bluff area this species also eats cane as a cat. Has the same antenna as the Northern but this is the Creole Pearlyeye, Enodia creola. The noteable visual difference is the knuckle on the forewing median dark line. The Northern is flat or incurved on this line.

Once again Rose makes the shot. The only shot I have ever seen with a Creole next to a Northern. I guess the lottery shot is all three in tandem. We may all pass on before we see that one.

And also from Baxter county in the same week and I think during the same butterfly count a nice Creole from Bob Boatright. The yellower and browner colors seem to be holding at least for this locality.