American Snout

Another favorite butterfly: the American Snout. That fabulous schnoz is supposed to mimic a leaf stalk: the better to camouflage the butterfly as dead leaf. The system doesn’t work so well on a window.

IMG_8803
“nose” (labial palps) half the length of the antennae

I’m guessing this one is male (they use only 4 legs), and that he’s asleep (6am), and that when he wakes, he’ll patrol our zillion hackberry seedlings, where females lay eggs on tender, new leaves. Those hackberry greens will fatten caterpillar hatchlings through multiple molts until ready to pupate into a new, adult Snouts.

New hackberry leaves MUST taste good, because our dog eats every single one she passes, and only hackberry. This being Nashville, baby hackberry trees grow from driveway cracks, fence-lines, flower beds, from under boxwoods and privet. Plenty of on-the-go nibbles for a dog, and placed conveniently at muzzle level.


I tried a few.
Meh.
T
hey taste like leaves.
My palate is not as discerning as that of a dog or caterpillar.

• • • • • • • • •

•  American Snout = Libytheana carinenta (and here’s a good site with photos of dorsal view and egg)

The snout isn’t really a nose: it’s a pair of “extended labial palps,” and they help the butterfly sense what is good food and what isn’t.

•  Hackberry tree = Celtis occidentalis (Northern / Common hackberry) and Celtis laevigata (Southern / Sugarberry).

I have a lot more to say about hackberry leaves (and bark and roots and twigs and galls and about faunal relationships).
But I have already said a little something about another local butterfly which uses hackberry as host: the lovely Hackberry Emperor.

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