Pictured here is a male Goatweed Leafwing butterfly. I was walking in the woods on a cool March morning and was able to photograph this beauty while he was soaking up some rays.
Here you can see the underside of this little guy’s wings. When folded, they look like dead leaves. This coloring keeps them from being taken by predators.
A different angle on the inner and outer wings reveals dull camouflage beneath and bold rusty red above. This arrangement makes these guys stand out when they are flying and disappear when they stop on a branch or pile of leaves.
Compare the leaf color seen here to the previous two images. Resembling dead leaves is definitely and advantage in this environment.
Anaea andria in the brushfoot butterfly family (Nymphalidae) likes deciduous forests near water. The Goatweed Leafwing feeds on tree or plant sap, rotting fruit, animal dung, and bird droppings. Not your typical fare for butterflies.
You can read more about these woodland butterflies at the Butterflies and Moths of North America website.