Monday, September 13, 2010

Can you tell we love butterflies?

i just couldn't think of a clever or good name for this post. There isn't much too it, just a few pictures of butterflies and caterpillars taken this week.

We spotted our first Red Admiral of the year. Several years ago, we had a bunch of these appear. Our big oak tree behind the house had slime flux, and the butterflies were attracted to the sap seeping from the wound. We had so many butterflies that year! Most years however, we only see a few of these. This is the first and only one we have seen so far this year.

It was a very friendly red admiral and kept landing on me curiously. i gently placed a finger underneath it and was able to lift it up without it flying away.

Last week, Kenan took the kids hiking and came home with this interesting looking fella. He's an Eastern Tiger swallowtail caterpillar about to pupate. They are typically bright green and turn brown right before forming their chrysalis. This is the first one we have found. The host foods for the Tiger swallowtails is different trees, like yellow poplar, sassafras, black cherry and willow. The caterpillars are usually up in the tree so they are not as easy to find as those that feed on plants and flowers.

Notice the fake eyespots? He looks like he's sticking his tough out.

We broguht him inside, and added him to the aquarium with the monarch caterpillars. i had several sticks in there propped up for him, but he chose to attach himself to the new papers that lined the floor. This is our first time raising a Tiger swallowtail. i've read that it could take several weeks before he emerges, and if it gets cold it may overwinter in it's chrysalis.

Ealrier today, i came upon this beautiful Question mark on the edge of our yard. It seemed to be attracted by the rotted fallen apples that were all over the ground. The Question mark butterfly is so striking when they open their wings.

When the wings are closed they are quite difficult to see. They have the perfect camouflage and look just like a brown leaf. This one is feeding on rotten apples under the tree. You see can see the white 'question mark' on her wings. The comma butterflies look very similar, but lack the dot.

This year we have had our usual abundance of butterflies. Mostly Fritillary, Red spotted purple and Swallowtails. i haven't seen any new species yet though. One of these days i'll post about creating a butterfly garden, and share some of the flowers and plants in my garden that seem to attract the most.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Rabindranath Tagore

1 comment:

  1. The cat picture is hysterical, it does look like he is sticking its tongue at you!