I also had a Long-Tailed Skipper stuck in my orchid house; I left the door open for a few minutes and he figured it out. Here's a picture of another kind of skipper, a Duskywing, which always hangs out by the front door.
Here's a shot of a Gulf Frit laying eggs and another picture of the Black ST. Also spotted in the garden was a Monarch (picked another cat, too) and a Zebra Longwing. I also saw what I think was a Polydamas ST but he was flying too fast for me.
Yipee!! I finally saw a monarch this morning!! It was on my marigolds. Later in the day i had another on my zinnias, maybe the same one. I was beginning to take it personally that I had not had any monarchs in my yard. My neighbor has a lot of MW in her horse pasture, so I may mosey on over to see if I can find eggs or caterpillars. The last of my GF cats is about to hang itself from the dish recvr, which is a perfect place for observation outside. I think it is good there arent any more cats, as my poor little passion vine is denuded of leaves. Since I am new at this whole metamorphosis thing, anybody know if the GF cats will overwinter like some other types do? How long is it from when they hang upside down til they emerge?(that should be eclose, right?)
I couldn't help you either scarletbean. I don't remember whether or not the G.F. cats will overwinter. I know Spicebush Swallowtail do. This summer I raised some Blackswallowtails cats. Most eclosed, all but one. Its chrysalis looks healthy, but it won't come out? So I figured it may overwinter. I also have another moth caccoon, it decided to stay put whereas others already took off. An everage time of maturation from chrysalid phase to eclosure I've noticed for some butterflies is about 2 weeks time.
I'm watching two Monarch chrysalids one on my tropical hybiscus. One I brought indoor because it spinned its shelter on a leaves that would likely fall off in the open wind.
I just found a tagged monarch in my yard. Tag number: RMR 648. I've posted it to the monarch watch list serve, but thought I'd mention it here since some of you are "taggers". This is the third tagged monarch I've ever found (in 40+ years). I've seen a couple others, as well. When I was about 10 or so I chased a tagged monarch across a parking lot but it stayed just out of range. Slowly it started to come down and I was just about to swing the net when I slammed into a wooden fence. Needless to say, that one got away...
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Sheila: No one on the monarch watch list serve has responded yet, so I'm not sure where it's from. I don't think they list anything until after everyone is done tagging and returned their reports. That's why I posted it on the list serve in hopes of someone seeing the message and recognized that it was one of theirs. We shall see...
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Hello everyone, glad to see things turn around for everyone. I have a few spicebush ready to eclose any day now. I have stopped collecting eggs at this point and decided to let Mother nature take her course.Monarchs have aggressively started rolling in and as usual this time of year I am very tight on MW. The Queens usually have a running head start. The good news is I have Zebra swallowtails apparently colonizing the yard even though I have not found eggs or cats,there were three in the yard together last week.(somehow that makes it all worth while.) Good Luck to all.
How terrific is that to have found tagged Monarch. Dale please keep us posted as to where your tagged Monarch came from. Viceroy, gorgeous series and congrats on the Spicebush that are about to eclose!
Dale, I just checked my numbers and it's not one of mine. I'm jealous, as I've caught many tagged monarchs but they've all turned out to be my own. It's amazing some times how long they stay around. Maybe we should get rid of some of the nectar plants so they have to move south. Keep us posted when you find out where it came from. I only have one tag left, and 5 chrysallises. Cut it pretty close this year.
Went to an orchid show this morning; came back to find three Black STs eclosed and ready to go! Still have a Monarch making pit stops at all the milkweed and the usual Gulf Frits have discovered my duranta is blooming (I didn't even know until I saw they kept landing on it). Also, caught this Long-Tailed Skipper hanging out in the butterfly garden.
Just heard from Monarch Watch -- the tagged monarch I found in my yard most likely came from Springfield, MO (that's where the tags were sent, anyway). About 400 miles as the crow flies. I released him after noting the number and taking the photo. Would be nice if he got found again somewhere.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
thanks for the info all! I guess i will find out if the GFs will eclose or not before it gets cold for good. 2 are hanging from my dish receiver, right at eye level for me.
Hummingbirds are getting scarce now. I had a little rush of them for the last few weeks,which was very nice. Every morning i could look out the big kitchen window and see them nectaring from the pineapple sage flowers. Now, that is a plant that surprised me. It grew vigorously and when it decided to bloom, it went all out. It just keeps giving more and more clear red flowers on nice long stems. Next to the black and blue salvia, which is also still blooming profusely, it is a real hummingbird hit,and a treat to the human eye. I would like to bring something up the sides of the window so I could see the hummers at eye level rather than looking down at them... but without obstructing the view from the window. I have a Major Wheeler honeysuckle in a pot just waiting to be planted, but indecision struck and it is still potted. Perhaps it would be nice behind the pineapple sage, trained up the sides of the window with a sturdy string or narrow trellis? I read that they like their roots shaded. Any thoughts from my fellow Bf & hummer lovers?
Just thought I'd remind the "local people" that my annual open house at my home/butterfly farm is this coming Saturday, October 13th. All are welcome! I'll have lots of native butterflies flying in the flight cage, many hundreds of caterpillars in the "caterpillar greenhouse", and of course, lots of butterflies will be flying around the gardens. We start at 10:00 a.m. and people leave whenever they have had their fill. More information as well as directions are on the Calendar of Events on the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society website. Now I'm just hoping it doesn't rain on Saturday!
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Melanie...sorry I meant to put that on the previous thread...my bad!
Dale...I hate to miss it, I really enjoyed seeing your gardens and all the caterpillars and the flight cage before. This year I have a field trip with the Master Naturalist class I am taking on that same day. :-(
Some day I'd love to make it down to your place Dale!
It's so nice to see everyone's butterflies. I had so little here this year and so little flowers that over the winter, I'll rethink my garden plant choices. I just couldn't keep everything watered this year.
Mrs. Ed. Sorry the drought has an adverse effect on our butterflies/ gardening this year. I'd most likely will attend your open house event Dale--but I live too far away.
I had the most terrible experience with my attempt to raise Monarch caterpillar this year. All 50+ caterpillars didn't survive. Not a single one. All but two chrysalids that I observed outdoor. One I took in side because of extenuated circumstance; but look, is it okay? The chrysalis is turning a deeper, darker green color than it was.
Lilly, sorry you had such a bad experience. Could it be bacterial maybe? If you have one die, you need to clean all the instruments and cages with soapy water that contains a capful of bleach, then rinse well. There may also be a increase of parasitic wasps or flies in your area this year. I had lost every one of the Queens I tried to raise one year to what I believe was OE, a bad microscopic disease. It happens...don't give up.
As for your current chrysalis, it depends on if it is nearing the time of eclosure. If tomorrow it is black all over then it will be fine. If it turns black only in one area, and gets worse the next day it is usually a goner.
Hope you will have a live one.
I just had a fun morning at the USF Fall Plant Festival. I mostly bought orchids but I also got a bromeliad and six pots of porterweed for my butterfly friends. As I left this morning, I caught the Monarch cat munching away. At the gardens there were lots of butterflies. I captured a Polydamas on plumbago, and a Gulf Fritillary resting on Mexican Sage. When I came home, another one of the Black STs had come out. When I was taking him outside I also saw the Monarch.
I had a Polydamas come out and his wing is a little messed up but I think he's ok to fly. I'm going to take him outside now.
Well, the Polydamas took right off so I guess his wing wasn't that bad. It was still wrinkly but I guess that was no deterrence to a determined butterfly. I finally managed to get a picture of one of the Zebra Longwings flying about. Here it is on jatropha.
My sulfur cats...finally downloaded my pics of them.
Also I was over at Wekiva Springs camping and loved the spectacular display of wild flowers just covered with butterflies, mostly swallowtails. I could stay in that field of flowers all day long watching them. Any of you that live in Florida and can get a visit to the Wekiva State park you would just love the butterflies that gather there this time of year.
Great pics Melanie and sunkissed. I have 10 monarch chrysalis, 3 GST cats, and a lone sulphur. I have been busy with classes and volunteering. Also yesterday we cleaned out the vines on one side of the house that were taking over. We have a field trip today...so see you all..got to prepare.
Wandered around the yard this morning and found quite a bit of activity. First was this big, fat Monarch cat on my Giant Milkweed. The Zebra Longwings are still frolicking in the butterfly garden. They love that porterweed! A Long-Tailed Skipper was enjoying the duranta (and the porterweed - he kept going back around to each). And finally, I spotted an adult Monarch basking on the ground.
I also spotted Gulf Frits and a Cloudless Sulphur. For all you Monarch worriers, we have a healthy population down here in Florida!
I haven't had much time to take pictures lately, but I have seen an influx of Monarchs, Queens, Fritillaries and Sulphurs lately. I have 1 queen and an variegated fritillary in my butterfly habitat waiting to eclose. We have had many successful releases lately and the kids are really enjoying watching the cats turn into butterflies and moths! Hopefully this weekend I will have some time to take pictures!
My little longtailed skipper cat has made himself a cocoon of bean leaves. does any one know how long it might take before he emerges? I have him outside on the porch to maintain the temp he was accustomed to but it will get to the 40's this weekend and Im wondering if I should bring him indoors before that happens.
Mellie a question for you on the giant milkweed. I found some for sale, a huge plant for 12 bucks at a local nursery. Do you have it in the ground? Wondering how well it does with our cold winters and if I should keep it in a pot and protect it when we dip to freezing or can I put it in the ground?
Sherri, I've still got mine in a pot because I haven't cleared out the place where I plan on planting it. When I volunteered at the museum, they had theirs in the ground and it came back in the spring. I would say you could put it in the ground but if you have an extra blanket you might want to cover it on those cold nights just in case.
steadycam3 wrote:My little longtailed skipper cat has made himself a cocoon of bean leaves. does any one know how long it might take before he emerges? I have him outside on the porch to maintain the temp he was accustomed to but it will get to the 40's this weekend and Im wondering if I should bring him indoors before that happens.
Steadycam3, I guess-- just a guess it will take-- the pupa will take roughly two weeks to emerge. I still have several Longtailed skippers flitting about in the garden this time of year. But I've not yet seen the larvae or pupae. You've done well.
Melanie and Sherri and Amanda, wowzer! Those photos are great! Love that last pic especially.
sunkissed wrote:Mellie a question for you on the giant milkweed. I found some for sale, a huge plant for 12 bucks at a local nursery. Do you have it in the ground? Wondering how well it does with our cold winters and if I should keep it in a pot and protect it when we dip to freezing or can I put it in the ground?
This plant will die back in a freeze and comes back from the roots. I had one that reached over 7' tall. But it was seldom used with all the other MW in the garden so I pulled it.
I like having the Giant Milkweed around as an emergency stash when I run out of the other. It took a while, but the Monarchs did find it and use it eventually. It's a cool-looking plant, too. Love the flowers.
This time of year all that is left for me are the tropicals - A. currassavica and the swan plant A. physocarpus.
My A. incarnata haven't done very well the past couple of years. I started A. exalta and A. purpuraescens last year from seed, but the bunnies ate all the seedling sprouts before they could re-establish. :/
I have several new varieties to try for next year. I did manage to keep a single common MW but it didn't like it when I started cutting foliage to feed the critters and it stopped growing. Trial and error.
Don't suppose you have any seed or plantlets to go around?
That made me wonder about the Florida Paintbrush seed that I got last season.
Dale - if you're out there - let me/us know if you got it to grow and thrive. I got lots of sprouts but found it labor intensive in the garden and too many critters to prevent them from eating the soft grass-like foliage.
Thanks, Lilylove. He has this leaf cocoon but I dont ;think he is pupating yet. He is still producing frass and making holes in leaves. I brought him inside day before yesterday because we have a series of nights that began last night of 40* . I'll post a photo of his "leaf" house in the AM.
Amanda I had no luck with the paintbrush seeds. I was told by the Florida Native plant society that it would be very hard to get them to grow in a backyard landscape with irrigation, they like the pine flat lands and very sandy soil. However she also said they may take two seasons before the germinate...so don't give up yet. I put some right into the soil and some I tried in pots.
Mellie, yep that is the plant they have at the nursery. I'll go get one, they are really big for $12 bucks and some have flowers on them. I guess I'll keep it in a pot since I'm zone 9b.
I have lots of those paintbrush flowers but I don't think all of them are native. They come in different colors - one is reddish orange and the other is purple. I think the purple ones are not native. We consider them weeds down here but I have to say the Phaeon Crescents were all over them one year. A lot of the smaller butterflies use them.
In exciting news, my Zebra Longwing cats got a little bigger so I decided to bring them indoors. I'm just not happy unless I'm raising caterpillars, LOL! Plus, I was afraid the lizards might get them. Here they are munching on passion vine.
I forgot to mention that Zebra cats start out orange and turn white later. It gets a little confusing because Gulf Frit cats are orange. The eggs look different though, so I knew who I had munching away. After a whole summer of seeing the butterfly, it's nice to have the caterpillars!
Of COURSE they're weeds. But they're native wildflowers!!!!
Right now the thing that's blooming in my yard and drawing the neighbor's honey bee hives are the old white field aster WEEDS I allowed to grow in place. In fact, I brought some back from someone else's yard in the spring who pulled them out as weeds. har har har. One woman's weeds . . ...
I have read that the FL paintbrush is cultivated by some larger nurseries. I'll try again next year after we read that they were butterfly magnets. :)
Yeah, I think Select Seeds sells them. I remember seeing them in a catalog and just laughing. I pick and choose which weeds to grow. Spanish Needles are ok until they go to seed; those paintbrush flowers can get kind of big and take over my other plants so I have to watch them. The butterflies and bees prefer the Spanish Needles (and the porterweed, another native plant) so I encourage them over other wildflowers.
Did I tell you (think I did) that I purchased a Lantana at Lowe's because of the unusual looking white flower/weed that was growing in the pot with it? Turned out to be Bidens alba/Spanish needles. I made the mistake of planting it in the center of one of my wildflower beds, and I could not believe the growth/spread! Everywhere it touched down it put out roots. Kept pulling but still growing and finally burst into flower. Ha ha h a.
This time of years everybody seems to prefer the asters, tho the S. needles are seeing some action. I like the wild/prairie/meadow look, so native weeds work best.
I guess it's time to start planning next year's weeds. A friend from FL told my BF today that they were starting their tomatoes this weekend. I still have a couple of red ones out there, but the rest may not make it.
I'm sleepy! This cloudy weather makes me want to start my long winter nap. :)
Not many bugs today, except for the neighbor's honey bees.
It looks like my Queen isn't going to come out of her chrysalis. In the same tank, I had Monarchs and there is a parasitic fly in there right now along with another fly pupa. The diseases and parasites always seem to get worse as the season progresses. : (
Unfortunately this week I found 2 tobacco hornworms (spinx moth) parasitized. There's nothing you can do, just watch it happen. Stinks. The eggs were likely laid on a Datura metel I have in the driveway. The Spinx moth came at night to pollinate. :/
My little longtail is still eating and making frass. Had to bring into the kitchen 2 days ago because we have a cool snap... 40's at night. Im afraid I messed up his diurnal rhythms because my house is never very dark. I doubt you can see very well in these photos but here are a couple showing the little leaf house he has built. Ive not seen him in quite a while but leaves outside his house keep disappearing and frass keeps falling.
The fly is tiny and sits with wings outspread looking like a parked plane but about 1/8" wingspan.
I read up on the spinx moth. Apparently their larvae and the tomato hornworm appear quite similar. I don't think it matters much, they both host on plants in the Solanaceae family - night shade, the datura and tomato are both in the family, so it's anybody's guess. I guess they are both preyed on by other insects in this fashion.
I thought, mistakenly I think now, that the little white pods that are attached to the body are the eggs, but the parasitic wasp(s) actually inject their eggs into the caterpillar's body. :/
Court has been calling this one cat a Zombie. Just in time for halloween. I found one on the Datura and one on a tomato plant not too far away.
EFGeorgia1 wrote:Question,, I found all these lovelies on dill in the garden yesterday.. and it is quite cool here... going to be down to 39 tomorrow night. Should I dig plants and bring them in??? Or let them alone?
Those beauties are remarkably adaptive. I think 39 wont even phase them. And besides dill hates to be moved. Good luck with them
Mellie, they are soooo cute! I would like to just SEE a long wing. I have passiflora blue crown but I dont think I have anything else they might like. I saw a long-tailed skipper today, my first ever but it wasn't from the caterpillar Im rearing. It was nectaring on lantana. I went inside to get my camera and he was gone when I came back.
It's a beautiful day in Tampa and the butterflies are out and about. When I went out to get food for the Zebra Longwings and water the orchids I saw quite a variety.
1. White Peacock
2. Monarch cat
3. Gulf Frit
4. Tiger ST
I also saw a Polydamas and a Long-Tailed Skipper but couldn't get good pictures of either. I also saw a Cassius Blue that was acting weird. Somehow, it was stuck to my plumbago. I think it was trying to lay an egg and something went wrong. I gently grabbed her and pulled her free and she immediately took off flying so I guess it wasn't anything too damaging. One of those rare moments when it's okay to touch a butterfly. Glad I could be of service, LOL!
Here are two that I have waiting to eclose. We have had a large influx of monarchs and queens the last couple of weeks. I currently have 3 queens and 4 monarchs in the bf rearing cage. I had 2 GFs eclose yesterday and 2 queens the day before that.
Things are going well on the Texas coast...we even had some rain last night!
I noticed some on some black mustard, The little cats were all over it!! Might take your weather(the mustard), snapdragons and nettlle are suppose to be, they really love the snapdragons ,the nettle not as much and you really don;t want that anyway!!lol
Snaps have a real difficult time with sun and heat together,lots of that where you are.
I am am talking about Brassica nigra, just in case you do try that, I don't know about alba I do have a bunch of seeds of that but I would have to run a germination test on them before I sent any to anybody.I can do that if your interested in trying the mustard (B nigra), my snaps cooked this year ,
Interesting group and forum. I have been retired for many years but only started butterflies and moths sighting and observation in August. I had a great summer with over 90 species in my area but it is starting to really get slow. There are fewer flowers and we had cool 40 degree morn with sunny cool afternoon today. Still saw a number of BF and moths, mostly sunnning.. There are still active Gulf frits, Variegated frits and buckeyes as well as the plentiful skippers.
I was thinking of my earlier conversation with steady cam ,how about false nettle? Does it do well down Texas way?
I have a few plants that are suppose to have a lot of water and they are growing in the driest ,hottest part of the garden .
Any replies?any info? any suggestions?
One more question ,do any of you know of any Snapdragons that will take sun and heat?
Thanks Melanie for the invite. I have a lot to learn about butterfly gardening and cat rearing so I will stick around. Hopefully I can make positive contributions as well.
I got started on butterfly life this summer when I spotted a male Diana fritillary nectaring on my wild verbena and my followup identification investigation got me hooked.
6 successful eclosures today! 3 queens and 3 monarchs. I took the habitat to work today and my coworkers were thrilled as they watched the BFs emerge one by one this morning. I also shared them with some of folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were tailgating at our office today - the newly emerged butterflies really made their day. You know, it is the little things that make me smile.
I saw a last and a younger one today as well. Ive seen a lot of adults in the last week as well. We are usually about 10* warmer than y'all so maybe mine has a couple more weeks before the cold get's here.
Russell, your photos are really really wonderful! So clear and focused. I have trouble with that on my pictures.
Had a really busy day, Visited my son on Caney creek near Stilwell, OK. Spent about an hour midday observing butterflies. Sunny warm but very windy. Able to get pics of some but missed several including a monarch and a question mark. The monarch decided to head south as it soared away in the air current aloft with a buddy. The question mark flew down to check out a dainty sulphur which I had disturbed then headed for the top of a tree.
Still managed to photo sulphurs, tailed blue, Phaon crescent, variegated frit, snout, checkered skipper and the ever present Mr. buckeye.
Thanks Steadycam. I have learned some techniques along the way. The best tip I can give you is to take lots of pictures and throw away most of them! If I am shooting a fast moving critter, I shoot at a higher ISO with a short shutter speed. Those LT skippers are hard to catch up with in my yard because they move around so much. Swallowtails are difficult too because they are constantly moving their wings. The stationary (or nearly so) subjects like cats and chrysalis, I get very close and use a flash to fill in the shadows. Lighting makes a huge difference in the pictures.
I discovered quite a few cloudless sulphur cats on my candlestick plant yesterday too.
Hi everyone! Hopefully, there's some lurkers out there reading this. Feel free to post guys, even if you don't have a picture. You can tell the rest if us how nice our pictures are, LOL!
I was perusing my orchid house when I noticed a Long-Tailed Skipper on the inside of the door. After I took his picture, I shooed him away to find more skipper friends. I also took another picture of that Monarch cat. He's gotten a lot bigger in the few days since I last saw him, but then again, he's also eaten a lot of my milkweed plant.
I'm raising another batch of Zebra Longwings but they're too small to be photo-ready.
Way to go Melanie! Great find from within the orchid house. I haven't posted any lately for I don't have much to share. shorthog really has some cool photos along with Russell and you this time of year which is ...keeping us fuzzy and warm all over since we don't have the luxury of much butterflies here. Please keep those pics. coming folks, and thanks.
It has been below freezing here over night for several days. Most of my flowers are gone and so have the butterflies. I planted some blanket flowers at my daughter's house and the next day a vistor showed up during a sunny period. A lovely painted lady that nectared for at least an hour in the sun.
To my surprize, when I got home, two Gulf frits had eclosed in my cold garage. Several weeks ago I had placed these cats in a container ( my passion vine was devoid of leaves) and fed them passion leaves for a couple of days. Once they pupaed I forgot about them. Now I have two Gulfs going out into the really cold world. How do I get them to over winter next time.
I've never known a Gulf Frit to overwinter. Sometimes you just have to release them and hope for the best. I had to do that with a Cloudless Sulphur last year and unfortunately it died (I found it at the bottom of the tree where I had placed it to dry and bask). Hopefully, they'll move in a southerly direction, but all we can do is let nature run its course.
Love the Zebra LW, Mel. Those are beautiful. My passion vine is completely without leaves. The GF's have eaten every leaf off the plant. I wonder what the remaining cats will do. I don't have anything else for them to eat. Maybe they shouldn't have deposited so many eggs on this particular plant!
It has been overcast the last few days, and the light has been terrible. This one is from the 4th. It is an interesting angle of a Queen on the coral porterweed.
Yakmon, what a nice pic of a Queen. Looks like she was nectaring and sunning. All those spots give her a 3D effect. The Gulfs consumed all the leaves from my eight foot passion vine in August. I moved some cats to another plant but I assume many died from lack of food.
The cold weather here,west central AR, has wiped out the annual flowers except for a few marigolds and pansies. Only a few butterflies and some are really beaten up. I saw GFs, variegated frits, Sachem and Clouded skippers, and a poor worn out buckeye this afternoon either sunning or nectaring marigolds.
Shorthog, if the cats were good size, they more than likely crawled off and made their chrysalis if the plant was not enough to support them. They will over-winter most likely and you will have them again in the spring. Look for a 'blue crown' passiflora. It is evergreen and will be ready for you earlier in the spring.
I've got two Zebra Longwings ready to be released and a third that should be eclosing any time now. I took a picture of one of the ones in my yard. Also, the Monarch cat is still on the Giant Milkweed and getting bigger. Finally, a Long-Tailed Skipper was enjoying my porterweed.
Also saw a Gulf Frit and a very fast Cloudless Sulphur. Too fast for Melanie to be chasing in platform sandals, LOL!
Melanie and Russell, you folks must live in Butterfly paradise.
I bought a bunch of perennial blanket flowers at a local nursery last week. Now I have flowers and some BFs. Cool but sunny today.The usual Gulfs and skippers but a nice American lady and a checkered skipper showed up to nectar the yellow gaillardia and marigolds.
Sheila_FW wrote:Shorthog, if the cats were good size, they more than likely crawled off and made their chrysalis if the plant was not enough to support them. They will over-winter most likely and you will have them again in the spring. Look for a 'blue crown' passiflora. It is evergreen and will be ready for you earlier in the spring.
Sheila_FW, thanks for the tip on 'blue crown' passiflora. I'm sure there will be lots of Gulf cats next year and they will need an abundant food source. Also, I plan to let some of my wild passion vine runners grow and trellis them up the east side of my house as an extra source.
Wow wonderful butterfly photos, Melanie, Russell and Cliff. And welcome Cliff, you can keep posting those wonderful pics. Love them!
Been cooling a bit here in Central FL, some nights have been as low as upper 40's, but still have a few sulphur cats on the Cassia tree that are nice sized (they are such beautiful caterpillars). I don't see anymore GF or Zebra cats on the passiflora...think my cats are done for the season. Still have butterflies fluttering around during the day though. ☺
I was camping all last week and got back to see my butterfly photo won third place in the photo contest...I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am so excited, there were so many wonderful photos and I never expected to win a top spot. I really just can't believe it, since I just have an old Nikon 4800 point and shoot camera. That field of butterflies is my favorite place in the fall, I could spend all day out there just watching them.
Nice pics, Sheila. I love those Buckeyes. They almost look like velvet.
I have been overrun with GFs, cloudless sulphurs and orange barred sulphurs. I have about 15 waiting to eclose. I am pretty excited because I have never had any sulphurs in my BF habitat. They have been thick on the candlestick plant this fall. Can't wait to see them all emerge.
Sheila_FW wrote:Monday my DH was out while I was working in the yard and took these pics. Lots of BFs around that day. There were a couple Monarchs but he kept missing them.
Love the variety and wish they were all in my yard / flower garden. Definitely an American lady and the skipper looks "Fiery" to me.
I had lots of BFs show up on a sunny Tuesday. The same ones as usual except for a couple of sulphurs and a Phaon crescent. I was able to get pics of a cloudless (aka big lemon) and dainty sulphurs but the clouded was to evasive.
1. Cloudless sulphur
2. Phaon crescent
3. Dainty sulphur
Here is a pic of one of the sulphurs in the BF habitat...you can see a GF just behind it on the right side of the pic. I couldn't get a picture of the other variety of sulphur...they are way at the bottom of the habitat...strange that they don't make their chrysalis at the top like the rest.
Russell, that is one fantastic photo of the sulfur chrysalis! Please keep us posted as to the species and do post it in bugfiles when you find out.
When I first started raising cats I took in a bunch of Gulf Frits and it is so funny the way they lean and move with the sun and other outside influences.
Russell, don't you love that pink tinge to the sulphur chrysalis?
Hope everyone had a great holiday! I awoke from my turkey-induced coma to find a Zebra Longwing had emerged. I thought all the chrysalises were empty but apparently I missed one.
Also, for those of you who remember, I used to volunteer at the Museum of Science and Industry in their Butterfly Flight Encounter exhibit. I had to give it up due to my health, but since I started this new thyroid medicine I've been feeling a lot better and I decided to start volunteering again! So expect some great photos from there as well as from my own backyard.
Thanks Melanie. That is only the 2nd WSLongtail I have seen in my yard...both times on Duranta...that seems to be the winning plant around here lately.
I just caught a glimpse of what I think was a julia heliconian - a variety I have never seen in my yard. I thought it was a GF at first, but it was almost totally orange and didn't have the pealescent underwing like the GF. I chased it around the yard a few times, but couldn't get a pic. My brother had just sent me a picture of a zebra heliconian he caught nectaring on his lantana...this is another variety I have never seen in my yard. I guess they are on the move today.
Should be able to post a couple more pics later today. There is still a lot of activity outside. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
Well, I went back to volunteering at MOSI today. Not too much going on this time of year; I released a couple of Queens, Zebra Longwings, a Brazilian Skipper, and a couple of Long-Tailed Skippers. Didn't find any caterpillars.
But...I came home and watered my orchids and decided to walk over to the senna to see if I could find some sulphur cats. Instead I found - an Io Moth caterpillar! I've never seen one in real life so I was excited, but not so excited that I tried to touch it! It gives fair warning with what my brother says looks like sandspurs all over its body. I like the stripe down the side; what a cool-looking caterpillar!
I went back outside to see if I could find more caterpillars (of any kind). I found two Cloudless Sulphurs on the senna. I also saw a Gulf Frit flying around. I saw, but couldn't photograph, a Long-Tailed Skipper and many Cassius Blues. I also picked some Zebra Longwing eggs and brought them inside. At the museum I saw all of the above plus a Monarch flying around. So there are still some butterflies out there despite the cooling temperatures.
I hope this link works. This was on last Sunday night's local news. Richard Ray has been kind enough to do a number of stories on me over the years (helps that I have a weird way of making a living) and of the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society.
Great pics. everyone. You guys make me wanting to move further South-- so I can enjoy butterflies longer in the growing season. lol. Those io moths cats are cool looking Melanie and Sherri. Dale, my firefox browser didn't let me open your file, it asked me to down load a new flash player version... :((
Sheila hope you feel better.
Not many butterflies are seen here, we just got our first freeze. :((
Ok Dale...made me look up that word!! For those of you who like me didn't know LOL!:
ab·er·rant ( b r- nt, -b r -). adj. 1. Deviating from the proper or expected course. 2. Deviating from what is normal; untrue to type. n. One that is aberrant.
But when have bug photographers ever been considered normal... :)
I was just outside trying to get pictures of the numerous moths that are nectaring before dark...even MORE challenging than the butterflies that buzz around during the day!
Dale, maybe you can help ID these.
Sorry, couldn't get a great picture of the 1st one...they are very fast.
Both are sphinx moths. The first is Obscure Sphinx (Erinnyis obscura); the second and third are Mournful Sphinx (Enyo lugubris). Your shots look great. It's really difficult to get good shots of those sphinx moths.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Thanks for the quick ID Dale. I really appreciate your vast knowledge. I have never seen the Mournful sphinx before tonight. It was rust colored and didn't dark around as much as the others. There were 2 other types buzzing around, but I lost all of my light and couldn't focus the camera fast enough. It is interesting to watch the moths just before dark, they come in like the night shift and take over the garden. I have been watching them the last few days and finally figured out the right camera setting to catch them.
Any theory about the cause of the variance in color on that GF? interesting find!
Thanks Shelia for the vocab lesson. I would've had to look it up also. ☺
Russell you got some pretty good shots of the moths, they are very hard to photograph. I saw the second one, Mournful Sphinx, thanks to Dale's ID, in my garden last night.
Saw three yellow sulphur butterflies in the garden today, bet they are those cats that were on my Cassia. I tried to photograph them, they were pretty quick, not sure if they'll turn out. Also had a long tailed skipper, small one flying around too.
I wasn't sure the Io Moth was really eating senna, so I put some wisteria in the cage as well. (I read in my book they eat wisteria.) Sure enough, today I saw him eating the wisteria even though it was kind of dried out. I went and got him some fresh stuff so hopefully that will keep him happy. Other than that, it's pretty slow around these parts.
In answer to your question about what would cause such an aberration in the Gulf Fritillary, genetics would certainly play a part (a pre-disposition to do this after a trigger). In this case, the trigger was almost certainly fluctuations of temperature extremes at a crucial development point while still in the chrysalis stage. We've certainly been having some massive fluctuations in temps here lately (80+ degrees one day, into the 30s the next). That's my guess, anyway.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
People often ask me what is my favorite butterfly nectar plant. It changes with the different times of the year, but in autumn, by far the best is Crucita (Chromolaena odorata)((formerly Eupatorium odoratum)). It blooms in the fall and is always covered with various species of butterflies. This shot was taken last week after a couple of mild freezes knocked out most of the other nectar sources in the yard (I covered this plant so it wouldn't get burned).
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Another obscure sphinx...better shot than the last one...this one was much more photogenic! This is becoming a nightly ritual...get home from work and run outside to see what kind of buzzing creatures I might find.
Just re-found this thread. I think I need to ask "Santa" for a book on butterflies. Have a lot in the yard and all I call them is "pretty". Guess I should start learning their names & what to plant to make them stay around. My Lantana is always full of them. My Passion Vine is beginning to recover.
Hi Qwilter, glad your found your way back. I've picked up free books at the Florida State park offices of butterflies. Just has Florida butterflies but nice little pocket book.
Dale that is an awesome photo of all those butterflies on the bush. I've seen that bush here in Florida, a bit more south of where I live when out camping. I asked someone what it was and they called it Jack-in-the-bush. It is a butterfly magnet.
Wow, nice plant Dale. Hope you will have some propagated by the next sale. I may have to make a trip to Dallas for that. You need to add your georgeous pic to PlantFiles...it only has two. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/31887/ And it shows one of the common names is "Jack - in - the - bush" sunkissed!
Sheila -- I'll try to do that. Both the photos on the plantfiles page for Eupatorium odoratum / Chromolaena odorata are wrong. Definitely not the plant. The plant will definitely be offered at the Texas Discovery Gardens plant sale on April 20th next year. I'll be glad to make you a cutting. It survives pretty well up here in north Texas considering it's native range is down in the Rio Grande Valley.
Qwilter - the best book for butterfly identification that I always recommend is "Field Guide to Butterflies of North America" by Jim Brock and Kenn Kaufman. It covers all of North America, but it has range maps so you can quickly look and see if something is in Florida or not.
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Sounds good Dale. I made two cuttings from my six foot Spinach Tree this last week...keeping my fingers crossed. I won't be able to get it in the shop to over-winter next year if I don't prune it. LOL!
The weather has been cool in the Arkansas River valley for several days. Sunny and warm mid 60's today. A few freeze survivors were out basking in the sun or nectaring on either marigolds or recently planted bloomers.
1. Sleepy orange
2. Variegated fritillary
3. Cloudless sulphur
4. Painted lady
5. Dainty sulphur
Tommorrow is suppose to be sunny and warmer. More beauties should be out to greed December.
Queens are rare in my area. They are strays this far north (mid west Arkansas) but I did have a couple of sightings in late Sept. and early October on Frostweed flowers and Dallis grass. Absolutely gorgeous butterfly but all those spots make them appear out of focus.
Oh wow! Russell, that's outstanding! Congrats. I planted some wild senna this past year. I saw some small green cats. on them, but never have I had a pleasure of seeing those Sulphurs larvae or pupae. I'll see about planting some more of these host plants next year. Ya, Mrs. Ed. There isn't much butterfly activity around here either. That's why I'm so glad that we've this thread to visit. Thanks all for sharing.
I didn't notice cats on mine until the second year..this year I had quite a few. I may switch one of the senna alata to a different type (native) in the spring...if I can get the existing plant out of the ground...hehehe. I have 2 senna alata plants, and even though they are about 8 feet apart, they grow together by the end of the season. This is a very vigorous species, and I doubt I will ever be without one in the yard because of all the seeds they drop. I really tried to cut off all of the seed pods this year to prevent additional plants from sprouting, but when they get 10 feet tall, it is difficult to get them all.
Looks like another great day...lots of monarchs, queens and skippers out this morning.
Today at the museum was $5 day (admission was $5 for anyone) so I decided to come in on a Saturday and help with the crowds. It wasn't too bad; most people were probably in the IMAX theatre or something. Those who did stop by got to pet a Monarch caterpillar and listen to me ramble about butterflies.
The butterfly exhibit has a literal swarm of Zebra Longwings so I went out with my net to see if I could add some diversity. I netted a few Gulf Frits, a couple Long-Tailed Skippers, a Monarch, and a Sleepy Orange (rather late for that one). Enjoy some pictures!
Nice pics everyone. Melanie, I love seeing the roosting Zebra longwings.
I was hoping for a big butterfly observation day. It warmed to 70 by noon but no BFs. Cloudy and very windy. The only thing moving was leaves.
Checked the flower beds and noticed a caterpillar, then several more on the violas. I assume they are Variegated fritillary since there has been many adults in the yard this fall. Since I'm in area 7b, will they pupate and survive this late in the year?
Yup, those are Variegated Frits. I never get those here, darnit. Anyway, my book says they're in larva form until the onset of winter and then they overwinter as adults. I don't know if those guys will make it; it's getting pretty cold where you are, isn't it?
Agreed! Terrific pics. Sherri, what's the io moth cat. munching on?. I've seen the moths in the garden before, but not yet the caterpillar. Love that set up indoor garden of butterfly and turtle elusion.
We've had cold nights and sunny windy days for about a week. The flowers are all gone except for marigolds, blanket flowers and pansies. Only a few butterflies each day. Most are basking or looking for flowers.Here's some from this week.
1. Phaon crescent
2. Horace's duskywing skipper
3. Little yellow
4. Common checkered skipper
5. Common buckeye
Others observed, were the usual Gulf frits, sulphurs, and mating variegated frits.
I have a Carolina praying mantis in the marigolds that catches any slow BF or bee for food. I'm surprized at the number of insects here for this time of year.
Yes, it's nice to have butterflies year-round. At the museum we always manage to have something flying in the enclosure even if it's "just" Monarchs. Then, I run around with my net and try to capture whatever else might be out there. Last week I wore myself out!
I just got back from volunteering; I mostly watered the plants but I did get to release six Great Southern Whites. I also netted two Barred Sulphurs, a Long-Tailed Skipper, and a Gulf Fritillary. So there is still some diversity around these parts. Found three Monarch caterpillars, too!
First picture is of the Great Southern White (which I've never seen in the wild; my boss trades her friends for them). They have turquoise antenna clubs which I find super cool. The second picture is a Julia cat getting ready to molt.
Hiya Amanda, hoping you and yours the best for the Holidays and the new year to come. Hurry back with news of your garden next season. Like your garden, there isn't much activity here. I'm observing a pretty moth on my Peach tree, but that's about it.
Melanie, the Great Southern White is so very pretty. Thanks for sharing the pics. Great photos!
I broke my camera last week! Dropped it while the lens was extended and now it's stuck there. Automatic Canon A-590. I will have to have it looked at. Broke the LED display a few years ago and we were able to find the part on Ebay cheap AND the seller even accepted my camera in shipment fixed it and returned it to me.
A lovely cloudless sulphur. I've been into butterflies for about six months and I am still wondering why they are called cloudless?
We've had two nights of freeze so butterflies are gone except yesterday, I saw a basking buckeye along side a dirt road at 38 degrees.Brrrr!
No more Gulf frits. During July and August, the Gulf cats ate all my huge passion vine in less than a month. Then I had swarms of Gulf fritillaries. So many that I had to rent a special transport vehicle to get them back to the gulf. LOL!!
Nice pics Russell. I have never seen one in the real but I'm assuming that your no.1 butterfly is a Brazilian skipper.I've heard that they rarely migrate north to my area. Looling forward to getting a close up but for now the flowers and green plants are gone until spring. After three subfreezing nights on a cool sunny Thursday at noon, I did see several clouded sulphurs darting about and lateral basking in a picnic area near the Arkansas river.
I have about 10 cats and chrysalis of Monarchs.. Found them out at the butterfly garden last week on milkweed which is still growing. Have them in unheated garage. I hope we have some warm weather when they hatch so that I can send them on south to ya'll.. :) Not sure what they would have done if I had left them alone. ?
The U-haul a great photo. I noticed three nice size GF cats on what is left of my Lady Margaret Passiflora yesterday...thought they were gone for the season. They don't have much left to eat since the vine is going dormant.
My Io Moth pupated; I don't know how long it will be until it comes out.
I was capturing butterflies today at the museum and saw a White Peacock - isn't that weird for this late in the season? Back home, I saw two Monarchs - one on milkweed and the other devouring a tassel flower. And of course, my friendly Zebra Longwings are still around.
Thanks for the verification shorthog. We have an advantage along the Texas coast..we don't really have seasons here. Well, I guess we have HOT and mild, but rarely cold. The butterflies can hang on here for quite a while during the "winters." I took a look back at last December's pictures and I only have 2 butterfly pics, both Monarchs. So far this year, I have about 50 pics of different butterflies. I guess you never know what the season will bring.