I have lived in the Great lakes states region all my life. Early on, though some butterflies were attractive I sometimes wondered when I might catch a species truly "exotic" looking in appearance.
Then in the fall of 1973 at the start of my 8th grade year my parents surprised me and my brother with the announcement of an upcoming trip to Florida in October. A first -- anywhere... We would spend a week there seeing different places and staying with former neighbors of ours.
Of coarse. I brought my net with me (on the plane) as I was very hopeful at what I might find. My "Zim nature guide" to butterflies and moths offered SO many possibilities...
It took a day to settle-in and our second day we toddled off to visit Seaworld however, our third day would see us relaxing at home with our friends so I finally got my shot at collecting.
My first capture and certainly most memorable would be the following:
The Zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) is what I consider my first true exotic "looking" butterfly capture. Unlike, anything else which I had grown accustomed to seeing; this butterfly surely looked exotic !
I still find the species very attractive (when fresh) in its satin black suit with bright yellow bands AND dashes. A eye "popping" sight really...
So, if any of you have a similar story which you can pass along I would welcome it !
*By the way, I'm sure some of our European members could recount their first experiences with (Charaxes jasius) which like this species is about as "exotic" a find as one is likely to encounter over there (across the pond).
Last Edit: Jan 30, 2021 18:15:28 GMT -8 by trehopr1
Post by livingplanet3 on Jan 30, 2021 19:03:04 GMT -8
I caught an Anteos clorinde in my backyard in 1985 -
Was very surprised at that, as at the time, it was a butterfly that I was totally unfamiliar with, and had never seen before. It seems to only rather rarely stray as far north as my area. I still have it in my collection (it's not the specimen in the above photo, however). I've never seen another A. clorinde around here since. Apparently though, this species has occasionally strayed as far north as South Dakota!
Post by nomihoudai on Jan 30, 2021 19:39:33 GMT -8
At age 19 I did my first collecting trip to Southern Europe with a friend. The first species unusual to me was Pyronia bathseba. With a white band on its underside it was very unlike Pyronia tithonus which were the most common species in my backyard. The target species of that trip was Gonepteryx cleopatra. I did find it on the first day of our travel. Rarely has chasing a butterfly been that exciting. I was shaking taking it out of the net.
At age 22 I went on my first travel outside of Europe to Java. While traveling there we were very excited to learn what will be the first tropical species we see. Unfortunately, it was only Leptosia nina. I think we didn't even bother to catch them. The other species that flew within the city limits were some Eurema, but not much more due to mosquito spraying in the area. I can't remember which species was the first one we saw in the wild, but I will always remember the first Chalcosoma caucasus we caught.
At age 23 I went to Corfu and got my first encounter with Charaxes jasius on a street which I will not forget. It was impossible to run after them and I didn't manage to catch any. On the same trip I spotted a strange Lycaenidae, Cacyreus marshalli, a species introduced from Africa. 3 months earlier, and I could have been the first person to report it in Greece.
In my town of origin, there was only 2 specimen unusual to me. A single Polyommatus coridon male that I caught there (the only specimen in over 10 years, and spending a lot of time outside), and Agrotis puta, which was a new record for the country.
Our beetle haul in Java.
Last Edit: Jan 30, 2021 19:43:29 GMT -8 by nomihoudai
Heliconius is indeed very exotic genus, it is one of my favourite to look at in flight. Slow and gentle movements are magical so to speak, can hypnotize a watcher. I miss this genus a lot in Thailand. Although there are Heliconinae species but cannot be compare to Heliconius.
I don't have a lot of tropical experience but I have seen H. charithonia and A. vanillae and both are nice but definitely the most tropical thing I have ever seen was Charaxes jasius. It was a very surprising thing to see patrolling the hills near Pisa Italy. On the same trip I also saw Issoria lathonia and Iphiclides podalirius which are not really tropical but a big contrast to the related American species I am used to. Did not swing a net on that trip though.
Probably the most exotic catches would be Chrysina, Strategus and Dendrobias mandibularis from Arizona
My first exotic catch was Iphiclides podalirius on Samos Isl in Greece from the early 2000's. I dont have a picture of it on my computer. My first tropical exotic was my first trip outside Europe to Thailand in 2006. The very first butterfly i caught there was in Hua Hin, and was a Catopsilia pomona. I added a picture of the stuff i caught in Thailand when i was there. Since this picture was taken i have later respread all the specimens and put them on proper pins and added datalabels! ;P
My first "Wow!" moment was when I found my first Chrysina gloriosa. I was about 10 years old and didn't know they existed. I thought some kid had spray-painted a june bug, until I found several more. The next night I found a female Dysschema howardi, another species I didn't know existed. A skunk was trying to eat it. I threw rocks at the skunk and it finally ran off. Two years later, on a family trip to Florida, I caught my first Dynastes tityus, Strategus antaeus, and Eacles imperialis.
My First "exotic" bugs were from the Florida Keys - back when you could find private land to collect on. North Key Largo exciting finds included the two Eunica species - which were a big deal to me back then! The mosquitos in the hammocks were just as memorable. Out in the fields, Heliconius charitonius and Dryas julia were just as exciting.
My first encounter with Tropical Lepidoptera was 64 years ago. It was a Spring Break trip to South Florida with my Grand Parents. We drove all day from Cleveland. Ohio and over nighted in Swainsboro, GA. I arose to a warm sun at 8:30 AM. We were in Travel Hotel (The Word Motel had not yet been created or used,) There was a large Magnolia Tree with flowers in bloom at the base and Papilio palemedes were flying about and nectaring on the flowers at the base of the tree. I collected two rather quickly and I had to go eat breakfast which I woffed down and was back collecting in less that ten minutes
I had a dozen palamedes and several P. troilus and P. gluacus in less than ten minutes. I was astatic to say the least.
Fast Forward 64 years.
In 2019 I attended the Southern Lepidoptetist Society Annual Meeting in Statesboro, GA at the Georgia Southern University. I was to attend the moth collecting to a dune area North of Swainsboro. We were to meet at the Swainsboro Quality Inn. I pulled into parking area of the motel and I immediately recognized it as the motel I collected the P.palamedes 64 years earlier. However, it was raining and would continue raining all night. Some of the diehards went moth collecting. I was tired from my long journey and departed the group for my Hotel in Statesboro.
However my first trip to Florida in 1956 My grandparents owned a second floor apartment (Winter Home) in Miami Beach. My Grand Father walked me over to Greynolds Park where I would collect butterflies and some moths.
My Grandfather loaded me and my nets into his 1956 Mercury Sun Cruiser and took me to North Key Largo. I came home with several hundred specimens from the spring Trip to Florida. I still have the Papilio palamedes in my collection, only two Specimens.
Last Edit: Feb 4, 2021 13:39:43 GMT -8 by leptraps
There was a small Magnolia Tree in place of the big tree and the ring of flowers was gone. Although I drove through Swainsboro to get to Statesboro and my motel, I had no memory of the area except my encounter with Papilo palamedes 64 years before.
Last Edit: Feb 1, 2021 13:40:14 GMT -8 by leptraps
trehopr, FYI, there is a subspecies? (form vazquezae) of H. charitonius from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of TX. The wing color is more brownish and the yellow is more orangeish. Otherwise, it looks just like the Florida variety. Your specimens are very nicely spread. Do you cover the wings with microscope slides while they are drying?
Post by wingedwishes on Feb 19, 2021 9:04:58 GMT -8
I once found a roosting together of Zebra Longwings when living in Florida. One sweep with my net and there were 13 inside. The Black Witch Moth captures are my favorites. Always caught them inside of buildings (dog kennels) next to large forests..
My most bone head move (and most memorable) was catching P. glaucus in an area in Florida. There were several dozen swarming a blooming button bush. I caught one and pulled it from the net but saw that there was a big triangular bite from a wing so I quickly let it go. As it opened its wings and flew away I noticed that it was nearly solid yellow. No, I was unable to capture it again. Like the 'fish that got away' story that every fisherman knows......
Good vendors from whom I've had good experiences: Insect Collectors Shop Bill Oehlke Green Hills Butterfly Ranch Insect-Sale Chuck Ianni Dr. Defreina Ken Thorne Insect Collector Shop Girardy's Chuck Limmer
My first exotic catch was a Vanessa virginiensis, hand-caught from a planter at the airport in Quito. My first European catch was a Thymelicus lineola taken in Germany. My first catch in Venezuela was a big Black Witch in a bait trap. I could have stayed in my back yard in Tennessee and caught all three! Fortunately, later exotic catches were more exciting...