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

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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
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mellielong
May 1, 2016 9:25 AM CST

Moderator

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

For this month's thumbnail pic, it's everyone's favorite cartoon caterpillar, the Spicebush Swallowtail! Rolling on the floor laughing

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I'll post more pictures later. Today's one of those stay in bed days. Maybe watch some bad movies.

I do have to give lots of credit to Christine for being smarter than BAMONA! Hurray! I sent my latest picture of the adult Fir Tussock Moth off to them and this time they approved it! Maybe we taught them a thing or two.
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Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
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krobra
May 1, 2016 10:51 AM CST
nice , but we bird people need a new May thread too Whistling
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
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jimard8
May 1, 2016 12:14 PM CST
Melanie , still reminds me of the Bookworm with Sniffles the mouse cartoons
Saw a Pearl Crescent a while ago , Red Admirals still making more Red admirals around the Nettle ..
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
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
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mellielong
May 1, 2016 12:24 PM CST

Moderator

I only make the butterfly thread. Lin usually makes the bird thread, but she's in the process of moving.
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
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mellielong
May 1, 2016 5:49 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, I've got some time to kill before "Game of Thrones" comes on so let's catch up!

Yesterday, the Gulf Frits were still laying eggs all over the place. This is the same one I took a picture of the other day as you can see she's missing nearly an entire wing. Still spreading those strong survival genes, though!

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This Duskywing was all up in my Salvia 'Mystic Spires'. I have to say, that plant doesn't attract as many butterflies as you would think, but I did plant it next to Pentas and Porterweed.

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My Zebra Longwing eggs are still hatching!

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I saw what I thought was the molted skin from a Gulf Frit, when I realized it was a dead Gulf Frit. Thumbs down And there was some weird egg-type thing in front of it. I took a picture, then stepped on the leaf. There was some black stuff inside the thing, but I couldn't tell what it was. It's dead, though. No one kills my caterpillars!

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And the Gulf Frits have put an end to the blooming of my P. 'Lavender Lady'.

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I went down by the road to pick some Virginia Peppergrass and to see if I could find any more cats. I found nine! And then I walked over to Dad with them in my hand and said, "This is why we don't mow down by the road!"

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Well, we mow when I allow it. Rolling on the floor laughing But not during peak caterpillar season. Now, most of those Checkered White cats were pretty big, and it was no surprise when they began pupating. I don't have to trudge out and pick masses of food for them. Hurray!

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In other news, my Spicebush Swallowtail cat gut purged so I moved him to the chrysalis tank where he can pupate and have lots of room to emerge. Other than that, it's pretty quiet. Hopefully, some of the Pipevine Swallowtails will start emerging this week.
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
May 1, 2016 6:16 PM CST
Ho, Melanie I'm surprised you weren't curious enough to take in that white egg-shaped thing (it looks like a chrysalis to me) and see what hatched out of it!

I'm seeing lots more Gulf Frit cats on my P. Lady Margaret today, too. I guess they were too small for me to see before (the vine is high up on the wall of our shop). While craning and trying to get a shot of them, the Tiger Swallowtail "buzzed" me at high speed twice! I swear he wants to have his picture taken. My mission for tomorrow is to take the tripod and the "real" camera out front where my Pentas are, and see if I can catch him standing still for a microsecond or two.

I did get one lousy shot of the Zebra Longwing on my porterweed. There was a whole flock of them around, but finally one that graced my line of fire with a pose. For a second.

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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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
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mellielong
May 1, 2016 8:17 PM CST

Moderator

Definitely not a chrysalis, Elaine. I'm thinking parasite. I posted it on the Insect ID forum hoping it will look familiar to someone.

By the way, I forgot to mention that Checkered White chrysalises are green, whereas Great Southern Whites make chrysalises that range from cream to light tan. Very similar in shape, though.

Spicebush has changed color and is currently looking for the right place to settle in and make a chrysalis. I'll take some pictures of the color change and show you tomorrow.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
May 1, 2016 8:36 PM CST
Gulf frits are arriving daily.
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GrammaChar
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
May 2, 2016 11:05 AM CST
What a pretty Frit!

Melanie, does this look familiar? Found these on the Echinacea angustifolia but first found them on the leaves of Bidens alba. Some kind of egg? Hope my pic is clear enough.

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
May 2, 2016 12:20 PM CST
More pictures - on Bidens alba.

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
May 2, 2016 12:37 PM CST
Christine, I think it is frass, also known as poop, but I could be wrong.
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
May 2, 2016 12:57 PM CST
Shrug! I thought that too but it's pretty hard like a seed.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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
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mellielong
May 2, 2016 1:07 PM CST

Moderator

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I feel like I have seen those things before, but I can't remember what they are. It's not an egg; they're never hard like a seed. It's a little too oddly shaped for frass. Might it actually be a seed from a nearby plant? You may have to go to the "Ask a Question" forum with this one. I feel like I've seen this before and it might drive me crazy (crazier) if I don't get an answer!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
May 2, 2016 1:29 PM CST
You know what Melanie. Now that I said they are hard like a seed it made me realize that there is Bird nest fungus growing in the area and I bet with all the rain the seeds ended up on the leaves! Hilarious!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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
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mellielong
May 2, 2016 1:36 PM CST

Moderator

Christine, if we put our two brains together, we would be formidable! Rolling on the floor laughing
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
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mellielong
May 2, 2016 2:06 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, let me talk about something I do know a little about. Now, many caterpillars change color before they pupate. Sometimes it's subtle, like how Sulphurs become more translucent and a little "glowy", as I call them. Other cats do a complete wardrobe change - without even molting! I've never read a good explanation for why this occurs. I'm thinking chemical changes after the gut purge?

Anyway, for a long time I was irked by my books because they would say how the Spicebush Swallowtail turns "golden" when they are about to pupate. And I would yell, "Are you blind?! They turn orange!" Case in point...

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I mean, if that thing was in the woods, a hunter would know not to shoot it because he's clearly wearing his blaze orange! Rolling on the floor laughing

But then one year, I raised a couple of Spicebush Swallowtails I found at Grandma's in West Virginia. And they were more on the yellow side. Dare I say, "golden"?

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And then there's my latest acquisition, who you may remember got mailed to me on a Spicebush plant I ordered from north Florida.

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He's not very orange, either. I did read somewhere a while ago, that there are some lepidopterists that believe the Spicebush Swallowtails this far south may actually be a subspecies. That might explain the color difference. I don't think it's based on what they eat because I've fed them a variety of their host plants and they all end up the same color. Something to research, for sure.
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
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mellielong
May 2, 2016 2:55 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, I went out to water the plants and pick a little Virginia Peppergrass for the caterpillars who have not yet pupated.

It's still Gulf Frit Mania out there! This female was trying to relax in the Spanish Needles and this male kept flying all around, and then slid in right beside her. I felt like a nightclub bouncer! "Is he bothering you, ma'am?"

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There was a Zebra Longwing out there, too, but I couldn't get a photo. Mostly because she was trying to lay eggs, but realized the vine was already covered in caterpillars. Like I always yell at them, "There's no room at the inn!" Speaking of changing colors, you can see the Zebra Longwing cats are changing from the pale orange to their more typical white.

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Part of me wants to bring them inside, but I know if I do that, I'm just gonna get egg bombed again. And I only have so much passion vine! In good news, my Corkystem reseeded itself all over, including down by the main street. Which is another reason my brother isn't allowed to mow it. I'm going to have to find some places to transplant that stuff. Here's some I found growing along with Tassel Flower.

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
May 2, 2016 2:59 PM CST
Very interesting stuff! The spicebush caterpillar is one of the cutest, any color. Smiling

I'm pretty sure you are spot on right about the seed. Thank you for adding your brain power. nodding Hilarious!

Here's the Bird Nest Fungus.

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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
May 2, 2016 3:15 PM CST

Moderator

YES! That happened to me once, too. Now that I see the picture, I remember! The knowledge is in there, but sometimes it takes a lot of force to shake it loose. Hilarious!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Texas (Zone 8a)
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Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
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GrammaChar
May 2, 2016 3:19 PM CST
Theona Checkerspot on poppy seedpod.
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GrammaChar

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