I came across two pics on FLICKR while researching a camera I'm considering. The gentleman is from Australia, but these were taken while vacationing in Arizona.
He asked if anyone knew the I.D. of the butterflies. You won't be able to answer directly unless you're logged in to FLICKR, so I thought I could pass on the info. I would, of course, give the credit to the DG members.
Nuts wonderful pics.
My husband and I were sitting out on Sunday enjoying the wonderful weather and several Monarchs were still laying eggs. A sulfur tried to visit the Cassia tree, but the Monarch chased it off, seems to want to dominate the garden. Didn't seem to mind the GF's...but if they came close to the milkweed it too was chased off. Anyway it was all a pretty interesting show. Had some cooler weather come in yesterday, so may have chased them further south for a bit.
That is good news, Amanda. By chance, a friend of mine who is an entomologist is heading "home" to Florida the week of Christmas. He was telling me he was going to get some seeds of a great nectar plant in his mom's yard that swallowtails come to by droves. You guessed it -- the very same plant, Carphephorus corymbosus. Assuming of course that he can find it, he might be able to supply me with seed in case you don't get very many. I'll keep you posted. I thought it quite the coincidence.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Did you get enough to pass around? Anyone who still needs it - I should have mine soon as well. :)
I'll post when it gets here to see how many trades there maybe. Then please Dmail me. I wonder about germination rates and whether like asters many seeds need to be sown. I will have to look into propagation treatment as well.
Yes I think I have plenty to pass around...I have never mailed seeds so you will have to let me know how it works. I am not going to be able to mail until after mid Jan. Going to be gone for a bit, but will be glad to mail to anyone that wants some...just let me know. I will say these grow in very sandy soil where I get them and in pretty much full sun.
Hello everyone... I have not been on this forum for some time. I raised Luna cats and Monarch cats during the summers of 2007 and 2008, but have not been able to do so for the past couple years. I would like to do so again this year. If anyone could give me info on where I can purchase Luna eggs this Spring, please d-mail me!
It's kinda funny, but even up until last summer, Luna moths would visit our balcony regularly (we live in a third-story apartment facing the woods) this is where I raised and released all my moths. Can they still have a sense like that generations later? Maybe I'm crazy to think so...
These are current pics from yesterday. I live in a subtropical area on the Texas coast. We have been extremely warm this winter and I still have many plants in bloom. Yesterday I saw the red admiral pictured above, a grey hairstreak, a Gulf Fritillary, several queens and some monarchs nectaring in my back yard. This is all very strange because last year at this time, all of my plants were dead or dormant from the cold blasts we had.
Amanda - I think I am going to let nature take it's course, but if we have any really cold weather threatening, I will bring them inside. I discovered another cat on the same plant as I continued to look yesterday.
Should be a great spring for butterflies, especially since some areas are receiving a little rain here and there.
All I'm seeing are stink bugs and lady bugs inside here and there. My BST cats are still snug in their cocoons, but with temps on Feb 1 going up to 70, I might think about moving them to the basement where they'll stay at or below 50 deg.
Last week while temp. was unseasonably warm here, I got a bad case of spring fever...so I went and visit my fav. local nursery. There at the nursery I saw a couple sulphers flitting about. Poor butterflies will suffer no doubt. Temp. dropped back down to the low 20'ish last night. Yike!
Wow Yakmon that is so neat to have cats this early...I am seeing a couple Monarchs everyday in the garden, still have a couple lanky milkweeds blooming that I really want to cut down but they are coming for the nectar. I did notice that one of the bushes that I cut down and is now growing back has some flower buds starting...so soon as that has flowers I'll cut the others down. I think these Monarchs live in my garden...they are out here everyday and have been all winter. Some sulphers and lots of long tailed skippers.
Same here sunkissed. I am pretty sure we have resident monarchs and queens around here year round, weather permitting of course. I read this article at http://monarch-butterfly.info/Migration.html and it said, "The Monarchs east of the Rockies basically have a destination of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, although a smaller population winters along the southeastern coastal regions of Texas. Many Monarch Butterflies are seen in Florida during the winter, but these may not migrate and seem to enjoy their year around resident status in the sunshine state."
Whatever the reason, I am always happy to see them cruising around.
Amanda I imagine all this crazy weather can play such havoc on butterfly harvesting. My husband ready yesterday where the bears are coming out of hibernation early, I think the animals know more than we do and a good sign winter will end early this year.
Here is some interesting info on the Florida Monarch...
I brought a monarch cat in on Sunday because it was so cold outside and it just looked miserable. I fed it some leaves from my milkweed and kept it inside. Today I have a chrysalis! Hopefully we will get a successful eclose soon.
Hey all we just got back from a week camping and I still have two nice sized cats on my milkweeds. Last night it dipped, or I should say early this morning to 33 for about an hour or two. I brought in my tender container plants in to the FL room last night and one cat is on a container milkweed plant, so it is inside the warm FL room. This morning I see another cat on a milkweed outside, it is not moving but still on the underside of a leaf. It is to get down to 34 again tonight, should I remove the cat and bring it in and place on the other milkweed? I don't know how cold of temps they can take. It should get up to low 50's today and sunny, should I wait until later to see if it moves again?
I don't think an overnight drop would hurt it, as long as it warmed up during the day. Sometimes they will drop to the ground and get in leaf litter until they warm up too.
But if you want to bring it in, clip the stem or leaf it is on rather than disturbing it. It could be trying to shed skin and you would cause damage by moving it.
Thanks Shelia, I did just clip the leaf and brought it in and laid it in the milkweed pot, within a few minutes it started moving around again and now is up on the plant chomping away. yeah! I feel better now.
Well it was a good thing I did, the bird bath was frozen solid this morning, it was 34 when I went to bed at midnight last night. They are both in the FL room happily chomping away with no idea how cold it is outside. This weather is so crazy, they say in two days it will be back up to 80 here.
Thanks for the help with my cats!
How nice Russell!
My three cats have gone off now to pupate, two on Friday and the last one left yesterday sometime. I looked around for them but have so many plants, figure they are in my Podocarpus hedge somewhere.
Last week the three of them had devoured the only fresh leaves I had on my milkweed plant, I had to run out to find more for them. It wasn't easy to find this time of year. I went to my local garden center and they had cut all theirs back and so went to the home depot and Lowe's, nothing...I was about to panic, then found some at a garden center, they just got it in that very day. I bought two yellow milkweed plants not flowering yet but had lots of fresh new leaves. Put those pots up next to my other plant and they happily moved over to it. I planted many milkweed seeds and have some coming up that reseeded around the garden, but none nowhere near to providing food for the cats. Monarchs are visiting daily, I see one or two fluttering around the flowers.
Today I see I have another new caterpillar, so good thing I bought more plants.
What do ya'll do for aphids on your milkweed? I have some milkweed in pots in the greenhouse and the tops are covered with aphids (going to cut them back and burn for now) guess I need to order some ladybugs.
I blast them with the sprayer attached to my water hose. I hold the affected stalk(s) in one hand and point the sprayer with the other, spraying them with the "jet" setting. It works fairly well for small areas and seems to keep them off for a good while. Catching them before they are out of control is difficult, but makes a lot of difference.
Good luck...now if I could just figure out a way to get rid of white flies!
I was told by my nursery that is totally organic, as I am that milkweed aphids difficult to get rid of. I had them pretty bad last year during the really hot humid months, I just carefully would inspect to make sure no larvae or eggs and just squish them in my fingers, kind of gross but it actually worked to tone them down some...you do need a really good close up eye sight. I will not use chemical insecticides, as they may kill my Monarch eggs and larvae. I would be afraid that using the water spray would also spray off cats and eggs. Generally, these aphids will not disturb the milkweeds or the Monarch larvae.
As far as white flies I only had that problem one time and think I bought the plant with the problem, it was a just cut back plant, so I cut it back again, and then sprayed the soil with soapy water and alcohol. The plant grew back fine and had no more white flies and it the one my three caterpillars just devoured.
FL & south TX you rock! So excited to see the new cats meaning it is right around the corner until we will see spring butterflies. I need to pull back the leaves off of my mw today so they will be ready for the spring migration. I will be warm this week maybe they will start putting out some growth. I can always blow leaves back on the beds if a freeze is coming.
As for aphids, I squish them after checking for cats and eggs too. I will clip the tops only if I have cats or eggs with a bad infestation. I put them in a container until the cats are larger then destroy the aphids.
There were quite a few visitors today in the yard today. I saw 1 gulf frit, some sort of black swallowtail - I never got a good look at it, several monarchs, a couple of red admirals and a bunch of small skippers. All of them were camera shy, though. I didn't get any good pictures at all...I am just happy to see them around. This time last year, it was barren around here and we were recovering from a deep freeze!
I saw a cabbage white flit thru the garden today. I was surprised! But then again, the honey bees are out as are all manner of flies and other "things." :D
I am checking my 19 BST cats/chrysalises everyday, just to be sure. They don't get hit with direct sun, but I open the door wide in the afternoon so they get the reflected/ambient light and outdoor temp.
Sowing my MWs this week. LOTS. Don't want to get caught like I did last year worrying about whether I had enough to feed the cats. I think I will stagger my A. curassavica to have some in varying stages as the cats seem to prefer it.
Also - I think I am going to forego the Cassia/senna this year. It was sooooo much work and anxiety. :/
Glad to hear from Sherri and Russell. Now we all have the bug. :P
I noticed last nigh I have four Gulf frit cats on my Lady Margaret passiflora. There isn't much new growth since it froze back pretty good. I didn't see any last year..so this is a good sign. I also have four new Monarch cats on my milkweed.
As far as flying around, have seen Monarch, really nice sized clouded yellow, and lots of long tailed skippers. I haven't seen any Gulf frits flying around recently, but they must have been.
Not something from my yard, but thought I'd post it anyway. This is a Forest Giant Owl (Caligo eurilochus), one of the new butterflies that we're flying at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's live butterfly exhibit from March 3rd - April 8th. The first ones emerged today and I've begun releasing them into the conservatory. These guys are really cool -- and huge!
Not as dazzling, but I did see a good number of butterflies in my yard today -- Orange Sulphurs, Question Marks, Gulf Fritillaries and a Red Admiral. It was 82 degrees today and it felt great!
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
That's one pretty looking butterfly there Dale. Glad to hear some of us get to enjoy those beautiful butterflies early in the season. I saw some type of Sulphur flitting about the other day. Those are the first to come out in the season. I'm glad to see them. Also, I collected some wild senna seeds last Fall. I sow about a dozen of them after I soaked them in hot water for 8+ hours. Glad to report I've 100% germination.
Sheila -- yes, the Owls are pretty spectacular. We've gotten three different species so far. The down side is that, like the Morphos, they close their wings when they land and only rarely open them to bask. Will you be at the training day on Thursday? If so, I'll see you then.
Thanks for the ID!...I looked and looked through moth pictures on the Internet trying to find it and finally gave up. I think it must have been newly hatched. I brought it inside and showed the kids, at first it couldn't fly, it looked like it was running along the ground. After a couple of minutes of "running," it took off and never looked back. Kind of a dreary day here, but the Bfs don't seem to mind.
Nice Lily! I have never seen a tiger around here. I have seen a couple of pipevines around though. Hopefully the BSTs will come visit. I have some parsley, dill and fennel growing now, much more than last year. Can't wait for the visitors.
Hi Russell, I myself can't differentiate b/w the Pipevines and the Black form Swallowtails. I've those hostplants kept over winter in the basement. I'm getting ready to harden them up and move them out soon. Like you, I can't wait for those winged visitors. Oh joy, the growing season will take off soon.
A Gulf frit made a chrysalis on my garden hose. Glad I spotted it before using the hose, told DH about it and he is so sweet that I noticed he was using the front yard hose yesterday to clean the cat litter box out. Come on how many men would care about a butterfly and do that? ☺
It is hard to be upset with all of the rain we are having, but it is really slowing down my butterfly sightings. Glad you saw your first for the year Kathy. This rain should give everything a nice boost and growth spurt before the hummers show up along the Texas coast.
Yes to the Brazilan Skipper! The other looks like a Fiery Skipper female to me.
Do hope you have some cannas in your yard. The Brazilian Skipper will lay plenty of eggs on the if you do. The Brazilian Skipper caterpillars are ugly as heck and will leave your canna leaves in shreds but alas I have a large clump of cannas growing in my front yard just for them...much to the horror of my neighbors :o)
One neighbor's elderly mother was visiting her for a few weeks and thought she was doing a good deed when she took it upon herself to use her scissors to cut away the damaged leaves and re-shape what was left. When I got home from work she was sitting outside on a lawn chair smiling and waving at me. She thought I was nuts for gathering up the pile of leaves on the curb. Had to explain the folded over leaves were caterpillar nests and I grew the cannas for the Brazilian Skippers. Was glad she didn't squish the caterpillars in them!!!
Got out my butterfly and caterpillar books and educated her. All was forgiven but she must've still felt bad because the next time she came to visit her daughter she brought me a pipevine plant. :o)
Thanks for info and story. I don't have any canna in my yard at this time, it must have just been passing through. I didn't recognize the FS...this one looked completely different than the last one I saw. I always keep my eyes peeled for different varieties visiting the yard.
Awww, Mrs. Ed. That was during the weekend's hike we did with a group of friends locally. Yah. I thought the beauty was paler (less yellow) than the "tigers". Thank you. Hi Cat~ It's nice seeing you posting.
[quote="Lily_love"]Yes, Bruce. Pawpaw tree is among my wish list wishes. BTW, that's a "lifer" for me. My very first Zebra Swallowtail in saw in person. What's a joy! Good luck with yours Bruce.[/quote]
I haven't seen a ZST in the wild since the 60's living in southern ohio--you should be able to find a nice protected spot to plant a couple of PawPaw trees. here's to both of us seeing lots of zst's in the future!
Mrs. Ed that was a great video clip...amazing how butterflies can change someone's life. Wonderful what she does opening her home one day a week for others.
I can't believe the amount of Monarch cats eating me out of milkweed, they are even eating the seedlings that are coming up and everyday I see new little cats. I have a lot of seedlings in pots but no where near ready to be planted. This is truly an unusual year here. The garden centers said they have had a flood of people coming in and asking for milkweed facing the same dilemma. They said they as fast as it comes in it goes back out. At least it is good to know so many people that care about the butterflies out there.
My Gulf frit chrysalis are still there, the one on the hose looks like something is starting to happen.
It is nice to hear everyone is starting to see the butterflies. I had to look up the Zebra Swallowtail, what a beauty!
I think was one of my Monarchs the way it was gliding around the garden...like its very first flight.
Work has been hectic. I hate to admit it but I haven't even taken my camera out of the bag in ages! I need a vacation!!!
This is the first day I was able to check around my yard. Monarch and GF cats chewing the milkweed and passion vines respectively to the bare stems. :o)
Am still trying to read all the old posts...and am glad to see familiar faces and butterfly photos too.
BTW...Glassberg is working on a new field guide. A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America. It will have something like 2,500 photos!!! If it is anything like his Mexico butterfly book it is going to be awesome!!!
He asked to use a couple of my photos and is going to give me a copy of the book...way cool! He'll be out here in a couple of weeks...do hope work eases back and I don't have to work overtime so I can hit the field and catch up on what's flying here.
Sounds marvelous Cat. both the book and the cats chewing plants!
I have to say that I feel a little bit better about my "oak leaf" experience since a couple people from the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network have seen butterflies! Both a Mourning Cloak and Question Mark. Yippeeeee
Hey Hey! I saw something. LOL. Not sure what is was. Probably Mourning Cloak. I was doing the dishes and saw it fly across the street. So I've got some bananas and grapes outside. Looks like the squirrels like the grapes more than anything on the bananas though. Ha.
Hah, just to be sure I did see something, and just not my imagination. lol Mrs. Ed. I trust you on this one. Wanna see mine 'something'? I knew I've seen this for several days now, and just now I've captured it. But as it turned out -- blurry! Gotta be the excitement that shows? LOL, for the next pic. I shot it was as good as gold. Look!
We had a Mourning Cloak out here several months ago. It was big news because the "northern" butterflies don't show up this far south. I got to see it - might be a yard bug for y'all but it was a lifer for me!
Well so glad that everyone is seeing BFs...My Gulf Frits finally emerged from their Chrysalis and I see them flying around the garden daily now. I found some more milkweed at a garden center and brought it home for my Monarch cats. Only to find two more larvae on the milkweed and several eggs. I counted ten cats yesterday of all sizes chomping away.
I've spotted a few yellow sulphurs, black tiger swallowtails, yellow swallowtails and of course the Gulf Frits and Monarchs, and long tailed skippers.
I see my FL paintbrush sprouting up also...the squirrels got into one of my seed packs and think they did that one in. I put some in the ground out front in my sandy sunny soil. I was told this weekend by a FL native plant society person that it sometimes takes two seasons until seeds germinate and come up. I've got to be careful and not think they are weeds.
Sorry no pictures yet...I'll have to work on that.
Enjoy the butterflies everyone...I think spring is finally here.
Hi everyone! I've been over on Facebook a lot but I realized I needed to stop neglecting DG! I had an exciting day today. I've been stuck inside a lot (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue) but I was feeling good today so I went for a stroll around the yard. I'm glad I did as I found the first Queen caterpillar ever in my yard. I stole one from a nearby park once but this is the first one that picked my yard. I only found one; there were three Monarchs on the same plant so it's amazing I ever got a Queen to lay an egg.
And finally, I saw this chrysalis on the side of the house as I was walking in. If you saw how far it was from the milkweed you'd think the caterpillar ran a marathon!
In bad news, the Tussock Moth caterpillars are back which means I need to go around squishing them. I saw quite a few on my passiflora which is NOT OK. In better news, I've been seeing Monarchs, Cloudless Sulphurs, Orange-Barred Sulphurs, Long Tailed Skippers, and Gulf Fritillaries. The parents have reported a Giant Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtails. I'm going to have to go Spicebush hunting in my neighbor's yard soon.
My aunt in WV reported "lots of little blue butterflies" which, based on last year's visit, are probably Spring Azures. I'll be visiting Grandma up there in a few weeks so I hope to see some new butterflies and as always, their large population of Tiger Swallowtails.
I've never really looked in the leaf litter but I know the Hairstreaks use the oaks in my yard. In fact, the Hairstreaks lay eggs in the leaf litter. It's amazing how far some of these caterpillars travel - like the one on the side of my house. I had a Monarch crawl straight up my oak tree once and hang from a bromeliad. I thought that was cool.
No pictures today because dummy me forgot her camera while going to pick rue. Naturally, I saw two Giant STs doing the mating dance. They were also seen nectaring on milkweed and my Dad's "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" which is in full bloom right now. The Monarch and the Cassius Blues have been doing fly-bys, as well. I went looking for more Queen cats but all I found was an army of Monarchs. I brought a couple of the bigger ones in so they can pupate soon.
In sad news, my Red Bay tree up and died on me for no apparent reason. Whenever we get back from vacation next month I'm going to order some spicebushes and make a little hedge along the neighbor's fence instead. I also need to order a Sweetbay magnolia so I can raise some Tiger STs. I've had them (and Red Spotted Purples) on my cherry tree before but my cherry tree has gotten so tall I can't pick the cats unless they're really low to the ground - which rarely happens.
On two occasions I thought I spotted a lone Monarch passing through the garden. But I questioned myself could that be Viceroys? Since I wasn't sure and didn't have a picture to inspect it closely. So I'll wait until I have enough evidences that I've gotten a Monarch to report for sure. DH thought he saw some Monarch on the mountains also. Hmmmm.
Just got back from Home Depot where I saw a Monarch laying eggs on the milkweed, a Red Admiral, a Painted Lady, and three skippers (probably Fiery). Naturally, I didn't have my camera. The butterflies seemed most interested in the pentas and the purple lantana. I was really excited to see the RA and PL since they can be very seasonal here and I can go a long time without seeing one. It makes me wonder what kind of butterfly year this one is going to be, especially with the wacky weather.
This is my first Queen here at the house. I don't even think I've seen an adult in my yard. One time I thought I did, but it was a Viceroy (they mimic the Queen color in areas with substantial Queen populations).
I was just out gathering food to feed the piggies (Monarchs) and saw a male Tiger ST on the "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow". The Gulf Frit was also laying eggs on my passionvine. I have p. caerulea but it's got Tussock Moths on it so the Frits are going for my pretty, hybrid passifloras, darnit! I've instituted a relocation program in the past, and I may begin again. I'd like to see them bloom once before they get eaten to pieces. I think the kind I have is "Lavender Lady". I was on vacation last year when it bloomed but my parents told me how pretty it was. I'm hoping to get some Zebra Longwings this year - the two winters prior to this one were brutal and I haven't seen a ZL in over a year. Hopefully, the warm temps will guide them northward.
And finally, a Gulf Frit on the pentas. I also had a Swallowtail fly by and I swear I think it was a Palamedes. I don't see them often except in early spring and then again in the fall. I'll have to go through my neighbor's yard looking for cats soon. His back acreage is always a good source of Spicebushies, too.
Congrats everyone on some of your first Butterflies of the season. I've problem with DG throwing my posting off and sent me back to the forums page too. It's frustrating when you made a long post, then get throw off the post.
Well I've seen just about every kind of BF, except still no zebra longwings. But I haven't yet caught a good photo of them...but got some caterpillar photos for you all...they move nice and slow...lol.
Sherri, congrats! BTW, is that a Sulphur cat. on cassia? I winter sow some wild cassias seeds, they germinated, I need to harden them and move them outdoor soon. Thanks J. looking forward to seeing yours.
Exciting sightings today. Mom thinks she saw a Zebra Longwing while on her walk today. They have been known to hang out at the other end of the street near my neighbor who grows "wildflowers" (it's weeds people, but some of them are beneficial and native). I'll have to keep the eyes open near the passion vine.
I went on a hunt for milkweed today at my fave nursery but came up empty. I even went to Home Depot and Lowe's to no avail. Home Depot had some last week when I stopped by but they had sold it all! I guess someone else has the same problem as me. In good news, at my fave nursery, I spotted (ok Mom spotted) a Polydamas and a White Peacock! I also saw a Spicebush, Cloudless Sulphurs, Monarchs, and some crazy skippers. It's good to see the butterflies are showing up. Here's the Polydamas Swallowtail enjoying some pentas.
So nice to finally start seeing more butterflies on the thread, and in my yard!
Just happen to catch a BST nectaring on verbena that I was out getting a picture of this morning. First one I have seen, so I didn't expect it...almost missed the shot entirely.
Yes Lily it is...probably the big yellow one...I've seen them each day in the yard. I have about three cats on the cassia that I can see, they are hard to find...really blend in.
Melaine...my cats have eaten almost all the milkweed I have. I did find some nice plants at S. Seminole nursery here in Winter Springs good sized healthy and only three bucks, and Lukas Gardens has some, but they are small and expensive. Only problem is when I bought more milkweed I got more cats and eggs. I have tons of seedlings coming up in lots of pots...and only two very ready to go large cats still chomping on the last bit of leaves...maybe things will dwindle a bit so my larger plants can grow back some leaves. My husband has been asking at HD and Lowe's and they said lots of people are asking for milkweed.
Shelia so glad you are seeing butterflies now also. ☺
Amanda I have just started seeing BST here...my camera can be a real pain sometimes trying to take a close up.
I had a nice surprise this morning when I was scraping the bottom of the milkweed barrel - I found another Queen! I knew there had to be more than one. After that, I went to the movies (The Hunger Games, which has a poignant moment with a Pipevine Swallowtail in it). I started thinking I was across the street from the other Home Depot so maybe I should go check for milkweed. And SCORE - they had some! I got home to find Mom "couldn't wait for me any longer" and went to our fave nursery to also buy milkweed (their truck came in today). It is currently living on the patio where it is behind a screen. All in all, I have eighteen pots of milkweed. Mom's going to leave a couple out for them to lay eggs on. I said they could keep on looking - I've had it up to here with Monarchs. They're like the tribbles from Star Trek, LOL!
Question - I've lost a few of the Monarchs. They get that stringy look if you know what I mean? I don't know if that's connected but in one cage I've been finding things that look like little grubs. I've squished every one I see but it made me wonder if one of the cats was parasatized and that's what came out of it? Has anyone ever seen anything like that before?
I know Mourning Cloaks are common in some areas, but we don't have them down here and I want to see one! I keep hoping when I visit Grandma in WV that I might see one. Maybe one day...until then I'll just try and be happy with my Polydamas Swallowtails and Zebra Longwings, LOL!
Nice! I tend to see Red Admirals early in the spring; they're one of the first caterpillars I can find. But I guess for your zone that's pretty amazing. Those little suckers are fast, too; nice shot showing the red and blue on the wings!
Nan, me too. I have grown Fennels in years past. I skipped a couple years, now I reintroduced them back into my collection. I overwintered few of the Parleys last year. Half of them didn't survive, so I've added a few more. Looking forward to a better year of butterfly garden this year myself.
There were 2 BSTs eclosed 2 days ago. Last fall I had a good year with BST. But I didn't have one single Monarch caterpillar, I had no idea what went wrong.
Yay to everyone who are seeing butterflies. Looks like it going to be a great season for it. Lilac already, Mrs-Ed!!! We still have snow, on the ground here. I was thinking, with the warm weather we had last week, that I would at least see crocus but none showed up. It turned into Winter again. I did bring in my BST chrysalis in the garage. It seem to have changed color, in the abdomen area, a little. Turning brownish and not as shinny.
Melanie, it does sound like the Monarch cats you had die were parasitized. I had a lot of Queens like that one year and a few Monarchs. Sad but farmers release them in mass to kill caterpillars feeding on their crops...then they reproduce and move on to butterfly caterpillars in our gardens!
I found one chrysalis that had a thread hanging from it and I knew I'd seen that before and that it was bad. I culled a few chrysalises that weren't quite right and a couple more caterpillars that didn't make it and I haven't seen another one of those grub-looking things. I've never had a big problem with parasites in my yard; I wonder where they're coming from.
A few of the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) caterpillars I'm currently raising. They're about at the stage now where they'll start eating me out of everything I've got to offer them (willow, hackberry, elm).
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
I've got the same problem with Monarchs. Unfortunately, I've had to throw a few of them out due to parasite infection.
In happier news, the first Queen made her chrysalis. My Giant ST is starting to get really big, but I know he'll get even bigger. I think I might have scared up a Red Admiral when I left this morning. I hope that's what it was anyway. I've got a lot of pellitory growing in my front flower beds and I would love to raise the caterpillars again this year. Mom thinks she spotted another Zebra Longwing but we have yet to get hard evidence of their return. I've certainly got enough passiflora for them.
Released another BST this morning. That makes 3. She wasn't quite ready to fly, but I overslept so didn't know how long she'd been waiting for me to release her. I suspect she'll figure it out. No photo, but she was small and lovely. :)
Mom released a Monarch this morning since I was still sleeping. I had another one get stuck in its chrysalis which I find is usually associated with an OE infection. I still have lots of good-looking, healthy chrysalises so it will be Monarch mania around here for the next week or two. Meanwhile, my Giant ST cat is getting ready to molt again. They grow up so fast!
Exciting news - I saw my first Zebra Longwing in over a year! Mom and I went to get our hair done this morning (I look fabulous, by the way) and on the way home she wanted to stop and see our old house. So we were stopped outside on the side road and through the fence I saw some lantana growing (it's invasive around here). Then, swoops in a Zebra Longwing to nectar on it! I'm so glad to see they're back - we had a couple of rough winters but with this one being so mild I was hoping they'd make it up here again.
In other news, I brought in four more Monarch cats; the butterfly was out there laying eggs so we should have a steady stream of the little guys. I wanna know where the Queen went and why she can't come lay more eggs, LOL! Also, my Giant ST is getting to be pretty good size. Check him out!
Also, my passiflora "Lavender Lady" is blooming! The Gulf Frits are eating it, but not too fast (for now). I haven't seen this plant bloom since I bought it; I was on vacation when it bloomed last year around this time. Check it out, too!
Checkered White? This is a new one for me. Haven't seen one of these in the yard before.
Cloudless Sulphur on Senna Alata - should have lots of cats soon!
Gulf Frit - amazing they haven't found the passiflora yet.
Another Gulf Frit
I also saw one male ruby throat hummer today. Buzzed right by my ear when I was concentrating on taking pictures of the BFs. I also have quite a few monarch cats devouring MW. This is shaping up to be a good year on the Texas coast.
Glad things are going well in Texas. All I ever hear about are droughts and wildfires so it's nice to see that it's not all one big wasteland. Oh, and that does look like a Checkered White to me (unless you guys have other White butterflies over there).
The native plant society is having a sale tomorrow so I'm hoping I can score some good butterfly plants at low, low prices! At least get a red bay tree to replace my one that died. I want my Spicebush buddies back!
Best wishes to you Melanie, Russell. Great series! Love them all. My passi, the native kind just broke dormancy this past week. They do have a mind of their own when comes to choosing a place to resurface. Found a couple of them too close to my walk way, that I may have to move them. Grrrr. Oh Mel. I love your Lavender lady passi. I once had her in my collection and lost it to winter freeze...that has been several years past.
Mel, we must be thinking the same...I am going to a master gardeners plant sale tomorrow. Hopefully I can pick up some natives too. I am happy to see some wildflowers popping up this year - we have been getting a little more rain lately. I just returned from a wildflower scouting mission and found a couple of other varieties that don't normally visit my yard.
and another Checkered White
Melanie & Russell, great pictures. Really wonder how that bee would still be flying! LOL!
Dale...I guess it is only a "few" considering the numbers you handle at the exhibit!
I am confused though. Do they change to a black spikey cat before pupating? I raised one I found in the "j" once. Here is what it looked like. Is it the same one you have?
Mrs Ed...from the looks of it, he was very happy. I have never seen a bee roll in a flower before, but this guy was clearly having fun, almost doing a backstroke in each flower before moving on to the next one. There was a giant patch of those flowers and it presented a great opportunity for all of the bees.
Sheila: My Mourning Cloak larvae are second and third instar right now -- yours in the photo is fifth. They do change as they age. Just finished squeezing in a hackberry cuttings for them to munch on. Thankfully, I have lots of hackberries here.
Also, Sheila, I meant to ask you today when I saw you in the exhibit: are you coming to listen to Dr. David Wagner next Thursday night when he gives his presentation at the Botanic Gardens? He's the author of "Caterpillars of Eastern North America" (as well as several other lepidoptera publications). It's $4, but members of garden clubs or any nature organization get in for $2. Dave's a great guy and he'll be showing some really cool shots of caterpillars from around the world.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society