Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

American snout butterfly on goldenrod flowers

with 34 comments

On October 29th I photographed this American snout butterfly, Libytheana carinenta, on some goldenrod flowers that were growing around the pond at Central Market on North Lamar Blvd. If you’d like an even closer view from another frame that will better reveal how hairy the snout and head are, click the thumbnail below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2018 at 4:55 AM

34 Responses

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  1. Time, Attention and a Great Eye…congrats Steve and Happy Thanksgiving

    MichaelStephenWills

    November 23, 2018 at 5:51 AM

    • And a cooperative butterfly. In general this species seems more docile than many others. A few days ago I even touched one with the tip of my finger and it didn’t fly away. It’s been a good season for snout butterflies in Austin, for which I’m thankful.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2018 at 8:19 AM

      • I was looking at one in Temple yesterday that was acting just like the one you saw.

        Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

        November 24, 2018 at 7:49 PM

        • Thanks for your corroboration of that behavior. Maybe there’s something special about the Interstate 35 corridor—or maybe not.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 24, 2018 at 9:04 PM

  2. Very interesting butterfly. The ‘snout’ I presume is just part of its head as, in common with other butterflies, it uses the proboscis to drink nectar. What astonishes me is how even the eyes are camouflaged to be in keeping with the patterning on the rest of its body. Nature is so amazing – as are your photographic skils!

    Val

    November 23, 2018 at 6:11 AM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence. An article about this species says: “Snout butterflies have prominent elongated mouthparts (labial palpi) which, in concert with the antennae, give the appearance of the petiole (stem) of a dead leaf. Snouts often take advantage of their brilliant camouflage by hanging upside down under a twig, making them nearly invisible.” If the snout weren’t so prominent, I’ll bet some people would have called this a dead leaf butterfly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2018 at 8:31 AM

  3. Fascinating design from nature! Didn’t know about these!

    Maria

    November 23, 2018 at 7:14 AM

  4. I can’t decide what attracts me more in this picture, the butterfly or the flower. But whatever, I like it. Great shot.

    Pit

    November 23, 2018 at 8:54 AM

  5. What a bizarre-looking creature, but like some homely dogs, kind of appealing.

    Robert Parker

    November 23, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    • But homely dogs can’t fly. Also unlike canines, butterflies apparently can “smell” through their feet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2018 at 9:30 AM

  6. fascinating! disguised as a dry leaf, yet colorful inside!

    da-AL

    November 23, 2018 at 6:09 PM

  7. I’d heard that these snout butterflies were thick in Austin this fall, but I’d not yet seen such a detailed image of one. I understand why it’s called a ‘snout’ butterfly, since that’s its most prominent feature, but I wish it weren’t. The name seems somehow — unattractive — for a creature that’s sort of cute, like the anteater that it resembles. I’m glad you added the closer view; the details are remarkable.

    shoreacres

    November 23, 2018 at 7:19 PM

    • Speaking of these butterflies being thick in Austin this year, I’ll add a post later tomorrow showing a couple of dozen of them on some frostweed flowers three weeks ago. I’m still seeing this species, as recently as a few hours ago. There’s no doubt about why people took to calling them snout butterflies, which is why I felt obligated to show a close-up of that prominent feature. I agree with you that the name carries negative public relations value.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2018 at 7:31 PM

  8. Fascinating creature! I have neve seen anything like that!

    montucky

    November 23, 2018 at 8:12 PM

  9. […] the previous post showed you a close and then an even closer view of an individual American snout butterfly (Libytheana carinanta), look at the swarm I found on some frostweed flowers (Verbesina virginiana) […]

  10. That name made me smile, Steve, but it is very apropos! 😊

    tanjabrittonwriter

    November 24, 2018 at 4:59 PM

  11. Interesting. Makes me want to open this WordPress reader more often!

    Cliff

    November 24, 2018 at 8:46 PM


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