Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Name that Butterfly...

So I finally did my homework, and looked up the names of the all the flutterbys I've been seeing. (And therefore snapping pictures of !)
I really enjoyed myself, and was able to label all of the butterflies I have pictures of!

First, the sweet little Tailed Blue, which I don't have a picture of the inside of the wings, has a wingspan of 1 inch, the caterpillars feed on Clover (I'll be checking the clover in our grass now) beans and peas. and they sip nectar from: Dandelions, Clovers, Milkweed, Daisies and ... Black eyed susans. =)
Tailed Blue Butterfly on a Black Eyed Susan flower

This next butterfly, a Spicebush Swallowtail, I photographed shortly after I got my new camera, and was just learning about the zoom.
I thought it was the coolest butterfly then because it was blue, had rather large wings, and had the longest spindliest legs I had ever seen on a butterfly!
Here are the specs:
Wingspan : 4 inches.
The caterpillars feed on: Spicebush, sassafras, and various bays. Unfortunately, since we have none of those plants nearby, I'm not likely to see the very, interesting caterpillar; green, with black and orange eyespots that make it look, hopefully, to the untrained eye of a bird, like it is a small snake!
Nectar plants: Joe-Pye weed, jewelweed, lantana and honeysuckle. We do have a honey suckle vine growing on the trellis, so I just might see one there.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly on Lantana

This Buckeye was photographed on a cloudy and slightly breezy day, so I had to work hard to get a clear-picture. As you see, they have awesome spots that look very much like eyes on their wings, used to fool predators.
Wingspan: 2 1/4 inches.
Caterpillars feed on: Plantain, snapdragon, stonecrop, verbena and other flowers.
Nectar plants: Indian blanket, lantana, cosmos and clovers.

Buckeye on a  Lemon Balm plant
 Skippers! Are not true butterflies, but I love 'em, see them quite often, and couldn't possibly leave them out.
Skippers are different from butterflies in that they: are typically smaller, have thicker torsos, are hairy, and come in hues mostly of gray, brown and tawny orange.

Skipper on a window

 Skipper perched on a Black Eyed Susan flower

Skipper snacking on an pretty white flower that I know not the name of.  =)

This cheery yellow flutterby, an Orange Sulphur, was hard to name because it always keeps its wings closed and has several cousins that, with their wings closed, look pretty much the same. The cloudless sulphur especially, as both have a spot on each wing. Luckily I have a blurred picture of one with it's wings open and it solved the mystery.
Wingspan: 2 inches
Caterpillars feed on: White clover, alfalfa, vetch and lupine.
Nectar plants: Clovers, dandelions, parsley, zinnia, and other meadow flowers, along with Asters and Salvia.

 Orange Sulphur on a Salvia flower

The Red admiral is probably the butterfly I have seen most often, and I have many pictures of them.
In fact one day this April, when the Honey locust tree in my backyard bloomed, there was probably near a hundred of them, flying all about the tree, hopping from flower to flower. I had never seen butterflies on the Honey locust tree before so I was very surprised and wanted to find out what kind of butterflies they were, though I didn't really know how to go about doing that, so it more or less died there.
Wingspan:  2 inches
Caterpillars feed on: Nettle, false nettle and hop. (I'm glad nettles are good for something.)
Nectar plants: Cosmos, milkweed, Indian blanket as well as: Honey locust flowers, asters, autumn olive flowers,and salvia.

 Red admirals sipping nectar from Honey locust flowers

 A Red Admiral sunning itself on a Lemon balm leaf.
A Red Admiral test tasting a Honey locust flower...

...Aforesaid Red Admiral's cousin smiling for the camera

...And this is Josie...  =)

Here Amberwing is enjoying the delicate flavor of the Autumn olive flowers

The Painted Lady and the American Painted Lady are so much alike that I mislabled them at first, then I read that the distinguishing mark is that The Painted lady has four little spots on her lower wings, while the American painted lady has only two big spots.
They are very pretty butterflies both of them though, I love the bright orange color.
Wingspan: Painted lady- 2 1/4, American painted lady- 1 3/4 to 2 1/8
Caterplillars feed on: Painted lady -Plants of the mallow family (The only one I recognized was Hibiscus) American painted lady- Daises, everlastings and plants of the composite family. (I dare you to look that one up!)
Nectar plants: Painted lady- a wide variety, including salvia. American painted lady- Burdock, daisy, everlastings, mallow, yarrow, zinnia and heliotrope as well as salvia.

 An American Painted Lady samples some salvia

Another American Painted Lady is lunching on an APL favorite: Daisy!

A Painted Lady resting on some mulch 

In the shade ...

In the sunlight!

The Great Spangled Fritillary is the very same butterfly as the one I posted about! You can see that post Here.
They often keep their wings half open when resting, which the one I saw did. =)
Wingspan: 3 1/2 inches
Caterpillars feed on: Violets (We've got plenty of those...some summer night I should go hunting for nocturnal black and orange tipped caterpillars...)
Nectar plants: Milkweed, asters, red clover, zinnia, cosmos, lantana, pentas and daisy.

 A Great Spangled Fritillary warms up in the grass...

...Then demonstrates the half - open wings characteristic of them.

Saving the best for last I guess, The Monarch, which also has a lovely orange color. The story of  its name is kind of interesting,  the  Pilgrims noticed the golden stripe encircling the chrysalis and thought it resembled the crown worn by their monarch, King James. 
Wingspan: 4 /12 - 6 inches
Caterpillars feed on: Milkweed
Nectar plants: Milkweed, asters, red clover, zinnia, cosmos, lantana, pentas, daisy and they like our sunflowers as well as the asters.

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