DAILY PICTURES # 110

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Thought it was about time to start a new forum. What better during the Monarch migration that a picture of them getting nectar from Gregg's Mistflower. I promise I have more than this one plant, but they don't think so!

We came from here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1372061/#top

This message was edited Oct 19, 2014 2:01 PM

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Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

What fun. Saw a monarch while shopping at Lowe's today. Still seeing gulf frits and sulphur in Atlanta. Do you have any wildflower seeds you'd be willing to part with for postage or a swap?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Memays - I will see what I have and drop them in the mail. I took your address off of the data base.
I lost a lot this year when I put the boxes out on a shop deck intending to carry them up to the house for sorting and forgot. Mother Nature dumped a rain storm that evening and just before bed I remembered them. I had seeds drying all over the place. I have still not got them organized!

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

What a great pic Sheila. This is only my second year with mistflower and I have already got several going. They are a lovely color and the butterflies and bees love them. I brought back a native aster from New Mexico, a mini blue that will surely do well here. I think I'll be careful with the seeds until I'm sure it won't take over the state, LOL.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Winter Haven, Florida and they were so busy playing I couldnt get much pose, but does anyone recognize these? And hopefully they are still clear pictures!

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Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Kitt, looks like lovely White Peacocks playing in the grass.

By the way Sheila, you have noted several times that the Queens really like Mistflower. I have a wild Ageratum bed which attracts a variety of butterfles but recently I've had Queens visit. They are strays this far North but I look forward to their visits. A pic of todays vistor on the Ageratum. Hopefully the Queens will head South soon.

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Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

I don't know CA, these look more like Soldiers to me, with no white markings above the bottom band of the the top side of the wing (3rd photo). What do you think? They are lovely at any rate and i'm surprised to see them so far north.

Definitely White Peakcocks (Anartia jatrophae) Kitt. Aren't they beautiful?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

White Peacock are mine, they are beautiful, and thanx for id.
C A? I think V is calling yours Soldiers

Red Oak, TX

With southerly winds the last week, the monarch migration has been "stalled" and the yard is filling up with them. Easily 600 - 800 on my acre and a half (if not more). Here's a few fattening up on the Gregg's Mistflower. I've posted a video on the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society Facebook page if any of you "do" Facebook.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

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Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks Vit, I'll check out Soldiers. I 've never seen one but I have some resources to check it out.
Lep. now I know where all the Royalty goes for fall vacation. They have flown a long ways and need a rest.

Red Oak, TX

C_A_Ivy, I can barely walk around the yard without inhaling a monarch. I think your photos are all Queens. The first two are definitely Queens and while the third one looks a bit odd, I think it's just a female Queen with very reduced markings on the forewing. It happens. Also, the hindwing on that photo shows a lot of striation, a common thing for the subspecies of Queens that would be showing up in Arkansas, but not something that happens with Soldiers.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

lepfarmer- I hope you're having more luck than I am with Monarch food. I planted like 75 A. curassavica in gallon pots figuring I could sell the excess on Craig's list. Well I never sold a one and they are all defoliated and slowly coming back now. I only have two plants, of the "tennis balls" milkweed, left that still have leaves and they are covered in more cats!
I have a question for you. Some of my cocoons have turned black and are not hatching butterflies.
What is it? I have been moving the older cats into an enclosure to cocoon and many have hatched, but some of them, even ones in the garden are dying in their cocoons. And when can I expect them to stop mating and making more babies to feed?

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

holy moly butterfly-man, that video was outstanding.

Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Thank Lep. I agree with your assessment of the queen. I noted reduced markings on a Puerto Rico subspecies of pinned queens but also saw some pinned images of several Soldiers from Mexico with the same reduced markings. Clearly queens have light veining above and often with white edging which this specimen has. A Texas stray Queen..

Red Oak, TX

Domehomedee -- Sounds like your pupae are dying of NPV (Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus), a virus that crops up fairly often in caterpillars, usually turning them into black, runny bags of death. Sometimes it doesn't show up until the pupa stage. You'll need to cut your plants back and soak your rearing containers in a 10% bleach solution for 15 minutes or so to wipe it out.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
www.dallasbutterflies.com

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

I hope you're wrong. I live out in the country and basically just plant lots of milkweed, mostly A. curassavica and let the cats do their thing from there. I do have one 4' x 4' screened in box I have been putting the fattened cats in to do their cocoons in. I've also provided some other good hanging spots for them in the garden. I guess I can clean up the box when the rest of the cats are out, not too many left. I may have to consider rearing containers for next year. I guess I have some research to do. Thanks, Dee

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Since we are speaking about losses, these are some of my pictures from past experiences. The first two were the same Chrysalis, and maybe the parasite in the third. The fourth has an arrow pointing to the hole where a parasite emerged from a Swallowtail's Chrysalis.

The last is an entire blackened chrysalis, and I seem to remember I didn't get viable butterfly from this one. What is it that caused this Dale, the NPV?

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Dhd, sorry to hear about your losses. Thanks Sheila for sharing those info. Thus far for this season. I've released 3 male Monarchs. There are two chrysalid that look to be ready to eclose within days. 3 more green looking ones to go after that. I'm hoping for 100% success for those little ones.

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Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

Sheila,
Are you raising the cats indoors?
I have some real mixed feelings about bringing the cats in and raising them to butterflies inside.
I'd really just like to provide host plants and food for them but I hate to see so many casualties in the cocoon stage. I seem to have the same types of problems that you have. The little boring insects and the black cocoons. And I also have lots of butterflies flying around in my garden. I have to wonder how many survive in the wild and if it's the right the thing to do raising the ones that might not make it one their own.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Yike! I released a 4th Monarch for the season just now. All males. :)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Dee>>>> When I raised the caterpillars, I put them in my shop where they got normal sun/temps. Here is me at my fullest in 2008, mainly BST cats. I had my hubby throw up some shelves for me on an unfinished wall of the shop. I had about a 96% success rate I think it was. But in the following years we didn't spend as much time outdoors and I got more host plants later and still take in cats ever now and again. I started tagging Monarchs but illness in the family made me forget to order them this year. But I tagged 50 two years prior.

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Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

A happy first for me this morning as i watched a Skipper emerge from its cocoon. Or is it chrysalis? I used to be very certain of the difference, then i read a little more and "know" a little less and become less certain. One thing i do know for certain is to be mindful of what/who the information is coming from...consider the source i remind myself several times every day. I am not certain if we are in the age of "information" or the age of "misinformation". I found this cocoon or chrysalis while in the process of cutting back some plants post rainy season. It was soft and green and capable of some limited movement. I kept an eye on it to make sure the ants were not bothering it with no idea of what might emerge.

The first photo is an image of the mature cocoon or chrysalis as the case may be. It turned from green to dark overnight. I am puzzled by the dark colored and green colored bands.

The second photo is of the newly emerged Skipper with the empty cocoon to its right. I did watch the little head with big eyes break through its protective covering and then made a dash for the camera. This was waiting for me when i returned.

In the 3rd photo the wings are unfurling.

in the 4th photo...there we go!

A brief run through the guide book suggests it may possibly be a Black-patched Skipperling (Dalla ligilla). I'll do a little more research to see if an ID is possible.


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Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Vit, what a great skipper story. Looks like Calpodes ethlius - Brazilian Skipper which is a rare stray to some northern parts of US. http://butterfliesofamerica.com/calpodes_ethlius_live2.htm

Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Vit, absolutely gorgeous images of the different stages of the skippers development. The fresh skipper image would make a great guide book image.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Thank you CA, but take a look at this underwing photo. First allow me to excuse my lack of butterfly part language. I have not yet learned it properly. Those 4 cells or squares or markings do not appear here but do appear on all the underwing BOA photos. The top wing images are very similar though. Is the lack of the 4 markings on the underwing a concern? The Brazilian Skipper is recorded as being in my area. I will look to see if the Brazilian Skipper is in the bug files. If it isn't, do you feel confident enough that this would be a correct entry?

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Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

It is so nice to know there are WARM parts of the world where the butterflies are happy right now. I seriously dislike being cold, makes me grouchy.

Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Vit, looks like Brazilian above but as you noted below it is not Brazilian. So my next guess is Evan's skipper http://butterfliesofamerica.com/panoquina_evansi_live1.htm .There are a lot of tropical skippers that I am not familiar so I tend to go to south TX strays as a reference.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

CA, i think the panoquina evansi is a real possibility. It is noted as being in this part of Mexico in my guide book and also noted as having the sheen on the um is this called the forewing? when fresh. I will take a look at more images. Don't feel bad, according to Wikipedia there are over 3500 species of skippers that even the experts cannot identify in the field and the only reliable method of identification involves dissection and microscopic examination. :(

Memays, i hope you are not covered with snow. According to the news 50% of the US is covered with it but i haven't seen the details yet. At least you get to warm up in the summertime. So you would only have to be grouchy maybe 3 or 4 months out of every year? I've lived in some seriously cold places in the US so i hear you. Little kids don't seem to notice very much, but as an adult what i really didn't like was having to wear a ridiculous amount of clothing for months on end. Now, if the temps drop down below 70 degrees F it feels down right chilly. I used to call people like me weather ninnies and now i'm one of them.

Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

Well I can't complain too much as there is no snow in Atlanta. I would be happy if the temp never got below freezing. I do have winter sowing to look forward to next month to keep my grouchiness in full check. But Virtsna please keep sharing your pics too as they are so cheerful.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

That's pretty cool Mrs. Ed, thanks for sharing.


I don't get here too often but thought you'd all like these shots of some monarch's I spotted while bike riding the other day, all over this bush. They didn't mind me photographing them, they were so into the bush. I don't know what the bush was but smelled like cat pee.

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Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Thanks for the article Mrs. Ed...good news is so welcome.

Sunkissed, nice photos...i would love to know what that bush is. It doesn't look at all familiar to me. Any chance you could post it to the Plant ID forum and let us know when you post or find out? :-)

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

It could have been some form of Eucalyptus. It does smell like cat pee and the Monarchs over winter on them here in Pismo Beach.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

As if we haven't seen enough Monarch caterpillars :-). These tiny ones are just about 2 days out of the eggs. Looks like the garden will be hosting them for the holiday season. A more beautiful decoration i cannot imagine.

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Barling, AR(Zone 7b)

Vitrsna, good to see that they are alive and well in Mexico and the babies are so cute. Up here, they are either frozen or in hibernation including me.
More winter pics would be appreciated.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Gee CA, i'll do my best but December and January are fairly slow here even though it is toasty. It looks like the Senecio flame vine is about to burst into flower soon though and that always brings the butterflies, the verbena and cosmos are blooming well and the asclepias that i had cut back is getting ready to blossom.

The other day at the car wash a beautiful and fresh Malachite landed at my feet...right on the car wash pavement. It seemed so out of place there. No camera though. This year i am starting Cestrum that promises to bring clearwings, i hope it keeps the promise. Things always pick up in February for some unknown tropical reason. In the meantime, look on the bright side and be happy you are not living in Ireland (in the midst of its coldest most miserable winter in 100 years).

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

I can't resist...another dose of cuteness. Look how they are growing! But you can tell by the size of the antennae that they are still quite small. Also notice that funny brown thing on the other side of the leaf. I hadn't seen it when i took the photo but afterwards i went out and there was a little leaf hopper in that spot so i suppose that is what it is. The leaf hopper looks like it has never seen a caterpillar before. I don't think it meant any harm but i flicked it off anyway.

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Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Nice shot, Vitrsna.
I actually saw some Monarch cats on milkweed the first week of Dec. here while on my walks. I haven't gone back by there since, hope our cold weather didn't get to them, but they seem pretty hardy as long as we don't freeze.
I have milkweed blooming now in my garden and keeping my eyes peeled for cats, so far all I have is aphids. ;-)

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

Love the baby cat. I still have a few on my milkweeds, which have very few leaves left. I also had a butterfly come out of it's cocoon this morning. It had cocooned on something outside and I brought the item into the greenhouse so the wind wouldn't blow it away. This morning I went out to the green house and had to catch the butterfly and take him out onto the lantana. I transplanted 30+ Asclepias curassavicas into my butterfly garden today. I had grown them last year to sell and ended up keeping them for food for the Monarch's in my garden. I'm going to need more milkweed next year if I'm going to keep up with the demands of the local butterflies. I may have to grow a couple of the A. physocarpa, they get large. I don't like having to deal with them as they get aphids at face level, I prefer my aphids low enough to stay out of my hair.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Sunkissed....If you see the bush after the blooms are gone snap another pic. Also if you get it identified please share.
Thanks for sharing the winter bf pics everyone!

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