Monday, April 2, 2012

The letter is B! (butterflies)


We've always had a variety of butterfly plants, including butterfly weeds (milkweeds), which is the food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Since they are voracious eaters--especially if there are multiple litters (you can tell by the size of the caterpillars), you need a lot of plants, or they'll eat the plant to the stem and possibly kill it. Right now we have a lot of butterfly weeds--so many that the seed pods are bursting with silk and seeds, which are flying all over and self-seeding, which is good. However, all these plants tend to attract a butterfly weed pest, which sucks out the juices of the plant. In the past, we had so many caterpillars that we had to buy more plants or carry caterpillars to the neighbor's butterfly weeds. Now I'm hoping to see more butterflies laying eggs! I'd also like to see some Zebra Longwing butterflies--and caterpillars--on our passion flower vine, which is taking over a side fence. We could buy some, but we don't want to spend the money for shipping. However, the other day we saw caterpillars on some of the vine leaves (really big leaves!), and got out the butterfly reference book. Oh, drat. Not Zebra Longwings. (Those caterpillars are white--with spines.) These are red-orange with black caterpillars with spines, so they are Gulf Fritillaries. Both varieties are brush-footed butterflies and like the passion vine. Well, it's a start. That vine does need trimming.


Pearson Report said...

What a great post. I have learned a lot about butterflies and their existence here today.

Jenny @ Pearson Report
Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

PS Might I suggest you turn off your word verification as it may be discouraging visitors from leaving comments.

Joy V. Smith said...

Btw, we ordered 20 Zebra Longwing caterpillars a couple days ago, and they arrived today. (They're shipped by air with an ice brick to keep them viable.) We ordered the small ones because they're cheaper ($1.00 ea), and they range from very small to teeny tiny. They are eating voraciously! But, believe me, they are not going to run out of leaves any time soon.

Joy V. Smith said...

Jenny, thank you! Uh, I'll try to figure out how to do that...