Finally!

Top Photo: Silver-spotted skipper.

After a slow start to the butterfly season I finally saw a few leps other than the silver-spotted skippers (SSSK) that have been buzzing around the Museum this summer. But, even the SSSKs have been fewer in number this year. The paucity in leps may have been caused by the late cold of this past winter and spring.

Whatever the reason, there have been far fewer butterflies this year. I keep parsley on my back porch just for the black swallowtails who lay eggs on the plant. I have four plants with no caterpillars. I’m usually on my second bunch of caterpillars by now and wondering how I’m going to feed them all after they’ve munched the parsley clear to the ground.

Here’s a collection of photos of some of what’s out and about now.

One of very few eastern tiger swallowtails I've seen this year.
One of very few eastern tiger swallowtails I’ve seen this year.
A presumably wild monarch on joe pye weed (unbeknownced to me there were a group of monarchs were released at a wedding back in May).
A presumably wild monarch on joe pye weed (unbeknownst to me there was a group of monarchs released at a wedding back in May. At the time, I thought they were wild).
A painted lady, an essentially southwestern species, usually shows up in our area each year.
A painted lady, an essentially southwestern species, usually shows up in our area each year. This is a species that is available for purchase from biological supply stores as pupae (chrysalis) so this individual’s origin is questionable.
The upper surface of the painted lady.
The upper surface of the painted lady.
a pearl crescent rest before flying off to nectar.
a pearl crescent rests before flying off to nectar.
I'n sometimes asked why the red-spotted purple is named so, here's why. Not quite red, and not entirely purple, but there you have it.
I’m sometimes asked why the red-spotted purple is so named, here’s why. Not quite red, and not entirely purple, but there you have it.
On the moth end of the lepidopteran spectrum, a bagworm on willow in the Wetlands.
On the moth end of the lepidopteran spectrum, a bagworm on willow in the Wetlands.
Entomologist Leon (BFH) explains to summer campers why you should not pick up one of these saddleback caterpillars.
Entomologist Leon (BFH) explains to summer campers why they should not handle one of these saddleback caterpillars. The sting delivered by the many spines across its body may be one of the most potent stings of all caterpillars in North America. Don’ t Touch Me!

And lastly, a few non-lepidopteran arrivals.

A small milkweed bug (left) and a large milkweed bug on butterfly weed in Catch the Wind. Large milkweed bug a more common here at the Museum than the smaller variety.
A small milkweed bug (left) and a large milkweed bug on butterfly weed in Catch the Wind. Large milkweed bugs are more common here at the Museum than the smaller variety.
The large milkweed bug are mating on the seed pod which will become the nursery for their offspring (that's a small milkweed bug below).
The large milkweed bugs are mating on the seed pod which will become the nursery for their offspring (that’s a small milkweed bug below).

Perhaps the two small milkweed bugs will find each other and we’ll have both small and large milkweed bug nymphs covering the seed pods of the butterfly weed in a few weeks.

Isn’t nature wonderful!

3 responses to Finally!

  1. Avatar
    jpo says:

    I share all your sentiments on the unusual butterfly season, however, I am very pleased to say I counted 18 caterpillars on my parsley a little over two weeks ago (last seen) Today I saw a newly-hatched Black Swallowtail flitting around the remaining parsley! Saw my first Monarch 8/17/14. I recently planted some swamp milkweed (I think), hope it finds the plant.

    • Greg Dodge
      Greg Dodge says:

      Good for you, and the black swallowtails. Last year I had way too many caterpillars on my parsley and they literally ate themselves to death. I couldn’t supply them with enough food and most of them perished. I hope yours do well.
      Thanks,

      • Avatar
        jpo says:

        This morning I found that the Black Swallowtail I saw flitting around my remaining parsley has laid eggs which have hatched. I hope they don’t run out of parsley as they have (like yours) done in previous years.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.