Butterflies

Butterflies of Mountain Lakes  

(Radis 2008; Glassberg 1993)

 

 

Most butterflies are highly dependent on “food plants”, usually a species or genera of a particular plant that their caterpillars feed upon before they transform into adults.  If these plants are absent in an area, their associate butterflies—with the exception of migrant species such as Monarch—will also be absent.  Nectar sources for adult butterflies are more varied.

Numbers of many butterfly species have declined greatly in recent decades due to habitat loss and indiscriminate pesticide use.  Low butterfly diversity is usually indicative of overdevelopment and indiscriminate pesticide spraying over a long period.

Although, with a few exceptions, no published butterfly records exist for Mountain Lakes, those listed below have occurred from 1998 through 2008 in Parsippany, Boonton Township, and Denville Township, in habitats similar to those present in the Borough. For purposes of this ERI, species that were confirmed in 2008 and onwards are pictured below.  All other species are listed as either “Probable” or “Possible” based upon either older sitings and/or known sitings in nearby towns.

Probable Butterflies in Mountain Lakes

Species:  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Scientific Name:  Papilio glaucus

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  A common late spring and summer species in backyards and parks in Denville.

Comments:  Food plants are cherry species and tulip tree, both common species in the Borough.

 

Species: Clouded Sulphur

Scientific Name:  Colias philodice

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common in fields in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plant is white clover.

 

Species: Orange Sulphur

Scientific Name:  Colias eurytheme

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Commonly present in yards and fields in surround towns.

Comments:  Food plant alfalfa, vetch species, and other members of the bean (Fabaceae) family

 

Species:  Eastern Tailed Blue

Scientific Name:  Everes comyntas

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Fairly common in the surrounding towns in yards, fields, and other open areas.

Comments:  Food plants are species in the pea family.

 

Species:  Spring Azure

Scientific Name:  Celastrina ladon

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common in spring and summer in surrounding towns in woods, fields, swamps, and suburban yards.

Comments:  Very diverse food plants.  The very similar Summer Azure has been split off from this species.

 

Species:  Great Spangled Fritillary

Scientific Name:  Speyeria cybele

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Seen occasionally flying around The Boulevard and near the YMCA parking lot.  This spectacular midsummer butterfly is fairly common in surrounding towns in fields, yards, and roadsides.

Comments:  Food plant is violets.

 

Species:  Red Admiral

Scientific Name:  Vanessa alalanta

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common during late spring and summer in the surrounding towns in suburban, field, and wooded edge habitats.

Comments:  Food plant is nettles.

 

Species:  Little Wood Satyr

Scientific Name:  Megisto cymela

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable. Fairly common on wooded edges in the surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plants are grass species.

 

 

 

Species:  Silver-spotted Skipper

Scientific Name:  Epargyreus clarus

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Fairly common in the surrounding towns in fields and yards with flowering plants.

Comments:  Food plant is black locust.

 

Species:  Northern Cloudywing

Scientific Name:  Thorybes pylades

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Commonly occurs in the surrounding towns in open areas.

Comments:  Food plants are legumes such as clovers.

 

Species:  Juvenal’s Duskywing

Scientific Name:  Erynnis brizo

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Fairly common in oak woods in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plant is oaks.

 

Species:  Wild Indigo Duskywing

Scientific Name:  Erynnis baptisiae

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common in Denville and Parsippany along roadsides where crown vetch is planted.

Comments:  Food plants are crown vetch and wild indigo.

 

Species:  Least Skipper

Scientific Name:  Ancyloxsypha numitor

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Occasionally common along wet roadside ditches and in meadows in Parsippany.

Comments:  Food plants are grasses.

 

Species:  European Skipper

Scientific Name:  Thymelicus lineola

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common in fields in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plant is timothy, a grass.

 

Species:  Peck’s Skipper

Scientific Name:  Polites peckius

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Probable.  Common in late summer in open grassy areas in the surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plants are grass species.

 

 

Possible Butterflies in Mountain Lakes

 

Species:  Black Swallowtail

Scientific Name:  Papilio polyxenes

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible; occasionally seen in the fields surrounding The Tourne county park.

Comments:  Uncommon in this area.

 

Species:  Cloudless Sulphur

Scientific Name:  Phoebis sennae

Status in Mountain Lakes: Seen in September, 2002 flying around the YMCA parking lot.

Comments:  This late-summer migrant from the South is rare in northern New Jersey.

 

Species:  American Copper

Scientific Name:  Lycaena phlaeas

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen occasionally in Denville, in fields around The Tourne.

Comments:  Food plant is dock (Rumex sp.).

 

Species:  Banded Hairstreak

Scientific Name:  Satyrium calanus

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen occasionally in surrounding towns in fields with stands of milkweed.

Comments:  Food plants are oaks and hickories.

 

Species:  White M Hairstreak

Scientific Name:  Parrhasius m-album

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen occasionally around the summit of The Tourne in Boonton Township.

Comments:  A rather rare butterfly in this area.  Food plant is oaks.

 

Species:  Meadow Fritillary

Scientific Name:  Boloria bellona

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Fairly common in surrounding towns in damp fields.  A population is present in the fields across from St. Clair’s Hospital in Denville.

Comments:  Food plant is violets.

 

Species:  Pearl Crescent

Scientific Name:  Phyciodes tharos

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Fairly common in fields and wet meadows in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plant is asters.

 

Species:  Question Mark

Scientific Name:  Polygonia interrogationis

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen occasionally in the Tourne, in Denville and Boonton Townships.

Comments:  Food plants are nettles, elm, and hackberry.

Species:  Mourning Cloak

Scientific Name:  Nymphalis antiopa

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Seen on a balmy February day in 1998 at the YMCA parking lot.  Present in surrounding towns in wooded and roadside habitats.

Comments:  Food plants are willows and a variety of other shrubs.

 

Species:  American Lady

Scientific Name:  Vanessa virgiiensis

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Locally common in fields and roadsides in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plants are pearly everlasting and a variety of other composites.

 

Species:  Painted Lady

Scientific Name:  Vanessa cardui

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen once in fields near the Tourne, in Denville.

Comments:  A rather rare migrant from the south.  Food plant is thistles, and a variety of other species.

 

 

Species:  Common Buckeye

Scientific Name:  Junonia coenia

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Occasional in the surrounding towns in dry open fields.

Comments:  Migrant from the south; food plants include plantains

 

Species:  Red-spotted Purple

Scientific Name:  Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Occasional in woodlands in surrounding towns.

 

Species:  Viceroy

Scientific Name:  Limenitis archippus

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen occasionally in fields and streamsides around the Tourne.

Comments:  Food plant is willows.

 

Species:  Appalachian Brown

Scientific Name:  Satyrodes appalachia

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Seen in woods adjacent to Wilcox Park in the Tourne.

Comments:  Food plant is sedges.

 

Species:  Common Wood Nymph

Scientific Name:  Cercyonia pegala

Status in Mountain Lakes:  Possible.  Occasional in wooded ecotones, fields and other habitats in surrounding towns.

Comments:  Food plants are a variety of grass species.