Harvester Laying Eggs on the Alder

After complaining (mildly) about not being able to locate adult harvester butterflies in the vicinity of an alder on the north side of the Wetlands, which has plenty of woolly aphids and caterpillars munching on them, I spotted one.

I was getting ready to make the rounds at the end of the day when I saw a small orangish butterfly zip by and through the vegetation just west of the infested alder. Although I felt sure that it was a harvester, I had other duties to perform and didn’t have time to search for the bug.

About the same time the following evening (8/27) as I rounded the corner from the Lemur House, I saw John (Facilities Tech) staring at something in the alder. When he saw me, he waved me on, come here, and I knew he’d spotted something good. It was a harvester and it was laying eggs.

I managed to get several photos of the butterfly ovipositing on the alder, the beginning of a new generation of caterpillars. There are already at least four caterpillars, and probably more, feasting on the numerous aphids on the alder.

Here’s three shots of the butterfly laying eggs.

Harvester laying eggs (8/27/14).
Harvester laying eggs (8/27/14).
Adding to the "egg basket."
Adding to the “egg basket.”
Still more eggs.
Still more eggs.

Considering the amount of caterpillars and eggs on this plant it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate a chrysalis or two when the caterpillars pupate. I’ll let you know what happens next.

I’ll see you in the Wild!

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