With lots of naturalists for friends, I do get some strange e-mail. Photos of plants, caterpillars and unusual birds or butterflies are pretty much the norm in my circles. However, the subject line accompanying this photo amused even me :) "Look at my amazing snout!"
I knew I was in for a real treat- and the photo would be an American Snout, Libytheana carinenta. There will be no prizes given for those who can guess how this butterfly got its moniker, "snout". Those are actually labial palps, an adaptation butterflies have for covering their proboscis (tongue) and possibly used for sensing food.
American Snouts do a great imitation of a dead leaf when their wings are completely closed, but these little Hackberry lovers are quite colorful when found flitting around the forest edge. This week must have been a good hatch week for them, several of us have witnessed the usual and comic looking butterflies, but Warren Uxley got this fantastic photo. Even if you have never seen one before, you will be able to instantly recognize one in the field- just by the Jimmy Durante snout.