Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: February 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4
Views: 1488, Replies: 78 » Jump to the end
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 1, 2016 4:13 PM CST

Moderator

We came from here: The thread "January 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month, but I'd have to disagree and go with February.

Things are pretty slow at MOSI. It was not a good butterfly day at all. Cloudy and cool. Thank goodness we have friends to trade with. Right now, we still have plenty of Malachites, although they don't seem to be laying eggs.

Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/09b6c2 Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/3af89c Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/8dab1f

We still have a good amount of Monarchs. I couldn't find any eggs in the flight cage, but it got up to almost 80 today so maybe that made them feel frisky.

Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/d45b4f

We still have at least one Zebra Longwing in the flight cage. After I took this picture, I never spotted it again. It's amazing how they can hide when they want to.

Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/17585a

This male Monarch was basking on the Kumquat tree. As you can see, it's in bloom and it smells awesome. Really, orange blossoms are one of the few things I like about February.

Thumb of 2016-02-01/mellielong/f6bb2b

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
Image
jimard8
Feb 1, 2016 4:18 PM CST
mellielong said:We came from here: The thread "January 2016 Butterflies, Moths & Larva" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month, but I'd have to disagree and go with February.





I always thought it was June and Love , Oh cruel,,, ??? Grumbling Grumbling Grumbling

Nice and Delightful photo's to see here in winter Melanie Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thumbs up Sighing!

In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
Image
Gleni
Feb 1, 2016 4:31 PM CST
Melanie, I did a double take I thought you said April is the cruelest moth''.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 1, 2016 10:26 PM CST

Moderator

Hey folks, glad you're liking the new thread. I will try to keep the butterflies coming, but my computer just crashed. It did some self-repair and is working for the moment. I ordered a new laptop, which I had been hoping to put off for a while longer, but I guess not. It won't be here for about a week so if my appearance on here is spotty, it means this one is acting up again.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
Rabbit Keeper Bee Lover Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Hummingbirder
Dog Lover Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader Bulbs Echinacea Irises
Image
crittergarden
Feb 2, 2016 5:24 AM CST
T. S. Eliot lived in cooler climes than Florida.
MOST of us do! Hilarious!
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 11, 2016 7:20 AM CST

Moderator

Melanie's back with a new laptop! Took me a while to get it set up to my liking. Basically, I had to make it look like old Windows, instead of Windows 10. Thumbs down I have a few pictures to share from Sunday, but not many because I was there early, it was dark, and it was COLD! In fact, it's still cold. But we're supposed to hit 70 tomorrow. In related news, I will be at MOSI tomorrow because the boss wanted a day off and I was like, "I don't know, the "Deadpool" movie is coming out, but I guess I could wait to see it next week." Hilarious!

In bad news, Trump will be giving a speech directly across the street at USF. Luckily, his speech is at 7pm but even regular traffic around USF is horrific, so again, I plan to be there very early and sneak in and out like a ninja! Thank goodness there's a Starbucks up the street. Mine is closed for an entire week for renovations and I'm jonesing hard.

Okay, pictures! Well, the ladies must have gone to the farm because when I flipped on the light there were all these Polydamas waiting for me. Since the last four Polydamas cats we had died last week and I cleaned out their tank, I knew these didn't come from our garden. Also, they should be overwintering. It probably doesn't help that they had the heat cranked up to about 80 in the lab. Oh, pictures look weird due to lack of actual sunlight and interference from heat lamp.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/404790 Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/a56864

We still have Malachites, too. This one had something wrong with it. It leaked on me. More on that in a minute.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/c935a4

This Zebra Longwing was ready to be released. That's a chrysalis box. As you can see, we pin the chrysalis to styrofoam on the top. This one must have been pinned when he was still in his J because you can see the shed skin at the bottom.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/2e7d17

I went out to pick some Oleander and I was kind of looking for caterpillars when one found me, instead! That's the arm of my jacket, FYI. I guess the caterpillar was cold, too. By the way, people often underestimate how fast caterpillars can move, but if you've ever seen one in its wandering phase, maybe you have an idea. But these Spotted Oleander cats move like that all the time. They are seriously fast. Oh, and they're also one of those caterpillars whose main defense is to fall off the plant. Seriously, cats will just fall to the ground in order to avoid predators. They crawl back up later, I presume. This one just had the good sense to fall on me! All caterpillars should be so smart - just fall into Melanie's loving arms. Rolling on the floor laughing

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/7bacc2

Here's a Monarch and a Malachite. I did not realize when I took this picture that the Monarch was on the outside of the flight cage. Rolling my eyes. I went and got the net and caught it later. I'm the butterfly wrangler!

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/715fb4

The way these Malachites were sitting, I was having a hard time figuring out if it was one or two butterflies. It's two.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/94c84b

Hmm...my photos are uploading faster. I guess that's a good sign.

Okay, now for the educational part of the post. Butterflies excrete liquids and sometimes that's good and sometimes it's not. Example - the Malachite I was handling earlier in the post left some green liquid on me. I think it came out of the wings but it could have been the body. That was hemolymph which is like simplified blood. So that's bad. Liquid should not be coming out of the veins on the wings or their bodies. (Exception, I once saw a Zebra Swallowtail "poop" on my brother when I was about 10. It was like a clear gel. I've never seen a butterfly do that again. FYI, a butterfly pooping on my brother is like a metaphor for his whole life.)

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/b29182

Okay, but one liquid is supposed to come out and that's called meconium. In humans, it refers to the first bowel movement a baby makes, and it can be really bad if they do it while still in the womb and they breathe it in. Butterflies don't have this problem. After they pump their wings, they will squirt the excess fluids out. If you handle them during this time, they are likely to squirt you. I don't think it effects them drying their wings because hemolymph and meconium are two different fluids. It looks pretty freaky, though, because most of the time it is somewhere between red and brown in color. (Sulphurs are sometimes yellow, though). People think it's blood and I have to tell them it's waste fluid. Or like I tell the kids, "There's no bathroom inside a chrysalis so they have to hold it the whole time!" Hilarious!

Here's a lid where we had two Polydamas pinned (we're running low on boxes so it's double occupancy). That reddish fluid came out of the chrysalis but it is totally normal. So don't freak out if you raise butterflies or moths and see this. They squirt it out of the hole in their abdomen (where they also lay eggs or give sperm) so if you see it happen, it's totally normal and you have not killed your butterfly.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/d5a189

Here's the bottom of one of the chrysalis boxes where you can see how the fluid dried up and there's also a bit of chrysalis there. Guess who gets to clean all the boxes after she releases the butterflies? That's right - ME! That's why when people tell us folks at MOSI how "magical" and "beautiful" our job is, all we can think of is cleaning up after caterpillars and butterflies. So much cleaning! But like I always say, "A clean lab is a healthy lab!"

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/699ec5

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
jmorth
Feb 11, 2016 10:38 AM CST
I liked the Malachites double.

Buckeyes double Thumb of 2016-02-11/jmorth/7ef5d0
Another neat shot; not butterflies but geese.
Thumb of 2016-02-11/jmorth/419aa5

Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 11, 2016 10:40 AM CST

Moderator

Sometimes they pose just right, don't they? Thumbs up
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 11, 2016 4:04 PM CST

Moderator

Never fear, butterfly lovers! I come bearing news and photos!

Since I found that Orange-Barred Sulphur (who is now a chrysalis and appears to be male), I figured I ought to check the Senna again. And I found two caterpillars! Both Orange-Barred. I'm feeling generous so I think these guys are going to MOSI tomorrow.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/1ce06e Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/38f3d7

I found one Gulf Fritillary cat on the Passiflora 'Lavender Lady', but there are probably a few more around.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/fdaa94

There was a Cassius Blue flying around the plumbago. It looked like it was laying eggs, but I guess it changed its mind because I never found any. Also, I can't believe it let me get so close. That is not zoom, folks. That is me up close and personal. Gotta love cooler weather - it slows the butterflies down! Oh, and since we're learning, notice where the butterfly is laying eggs (or thinking about it). Cassius Blues only lay on the buds of plants so you only ever find the eggs and caterpillars there. Don't waste time looking at the leaves. Part of finding caterpillars is knowing which part of the plant they prefer.

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/087d02 Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/435013

So last year I found a cool caterpillar on the patio screen. BAMONA couldn't ID it and it died before becoming an adult. Well, I found another one today so we're going to try again. I already sent BAMONA these photos which are a little better than the last ones I took. Maybe we'll get an answer? FYI, I brought this guy inside so let's hope he doesn't die. He's obviously a lichen mimic and he's green underneath which is super neat!

Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/2c94b5 Thumb of 2016-02-11/mellielong/eba1d5

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
Image
frostweed
Feb 12, 2016 7:56 AM CST
That sure is a neat caterpillar Melanie, I hope we get to find out what it is. Smiling Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Feb 12, 2016 8:20 AM CST
It looks like some kind of a tussock cat Melanie -- in that family anyway.
Those are 2 different Cassius Blue's -- the bitten wing on the second one.

Every time it warms up here I see butterflies - not many but 1 or 2. It's amazing how fast they come out after it warms up. I always wonder what they're going to do that night though as the temps will dip back down to the lower 30's. I guess they go hang out on a leaf where the canopies of the oaks keep it warmer.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 12, 2016 11:38 AM CST

Moderator

It is the same Cassius Blue; it's just harder to see the bite in the first photo since it's not backlit by the sun.

Mystery Caterpillar has been sitting on the same spot near the lid all night and morning. What is he up to?
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Feb 12, 2016 9:11 PM CST
mellielong said:It is the same Cassius Blue; it's just harder to see the bite in the first photo since it's not backlit by the sun.

Mystery Caterpillar has been sitting on the same spot near the lid all night and morning. What is he up to?


Oh I see now. I wasn't looking closely enough before.

I got this female black swallowtail today. It was windy as all get out -- at 35 mph -- this one was on the ground. It may have chosen to be there but honestly I can't see anything being able to fly in this wind!

Thumb of 2016-02-13/flaflwrgrl/ffbba5

I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Feb 12, 2016 9:36 PM CST
We're getting pretty warm some days! I've started putting out sugar water for the bees...I really love watching them, for whatever reason. Soon the Arizona Ash will bloom and they'll switch to that. But also coming around lately has been the butterflies, coming to the sugar water, pieces of old fruit and also to flowers, although not a lot of blooms yet. Most of the butterflies are Red Admirals, who compete with the bees. On the warmest days there's more...occasional buckeyes, American Lady, Variegated Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary...and today was the first Juniper Hairstreak of the season. Last weekend there was also a tiger flying up overhead. Just got back online after my computer was fixed...maybe I'll take some pics soon!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Morning Glories Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants Butterflies Garden Photography
Image
mcash70
Feb 13, 2016 12:08 AM CST
Nice shot Ann! Thumbs up
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Feb 13, 2016 5:24 AM CST
Thank you Margaret.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Feb 13, 2016 9:28 AM CST

Moderator

Swallowtails already! Still blaming El Nino. But as for them sitting on the ground, a lot of butterflies do that when it's cold. I think it's a combination of the warmth from the ground and them holding their wings open to bask in the sun. A lot of the time when it's cold I'll stalk around MOSI and purposefully keep my eyes on the ground to see who I can scare up. And in the flight cage, I'm constantly chasing them off the concrete floor which I know is warm. I'm always chiding them, "That's how you get stepped on!" And then I have to warn the guests to keep their eyes on where they step. Some species are worse to do it than others. The Malachites do it a lot, but at least they're green so they stand out a bit! I see Gulf Fritillaries on the grass in my yard a lot, too.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Feb 13, 2016 9:37 AM CST
Yes, I almost stepped on this one & did a double take & said Whoa! don't put that foot down or you'll crush a butterfly! It was warm temperature wise here yesterday but that wind was just ripping! I put my finger down & it crawled onto my finger. Hurray! Hurray! Then it flew up to my shirt on the collarbone area, then crawled onto my bare neck. That was cool but it's feet felt pretty prickly so I put my finger there again & it crawled onto my finger. I took it over to an area where it would be protected from the wind & let it off on a leaf of a tree.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



[Last edited by flaflwrgrl - Feb 13, 2016 5:52 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1057762 (18)
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Image
LindaTX8
Feb 13, 2016 3:09 PM CST
These two butterflies were already on my camera from earlier...I'd forgotten to mention the Great Purple Hairstreak, other one is a Buckeye.
Thumb of 2016-02-13/LindaTX8/7f6211
Thumb of 2016-02-13/LindaTX8/21b024

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
Image
frostweed
Feb 13, 2016 4:03 PM CST
The Great Purple hairstreak is so beautiful and so rarely seen.
I love the Buckeye too, but then, which butterfly don't I love?
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "French Marigold"