Friday, August 12, 2011

Celebrating Insect Diversity Week: Butterflies!

   Gentle and colorful, the butterfly is probably the first insect we fell in love with as a child. How can you not appreciate them for their metamorphosis, their beauty, and their migrations.

   Here's a sampling of our most common visitors this summer, and the flowers they love. Note that two of the plants are non native invasives, Buddliea and an unidentified mint. While some of my best sightings lately have come from these plants, I do not recommend planting them in your yard, there are plenty of native alternatives that are just as desirable to the butterflies, any of the dozen or so Agastaches, native mints, Monarda, Echinachea, and Rudbeckia are just a few.

This Northern Cloudywing may look drab, but it's really kinda smokey and mysterious
(on Catnip) edit: or maybe it's a Duskywing!

Red Banded Hairstreak, has a jumpy flight pattern like a moth 
(on Echinachea)

Spicebush Swallowtail on Agastache "Blue Blazes"

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, female black form on Agastache "Blue Blazes"

Tiny and beautiful Pearl Crescent on mint along the river

Zabulon Skipper on Agastache "Ava"

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden

unidentified skipper on mint down by the river

hard to tell, but likely a Clouded Sulfur, on Ironweed 

 Buckeye on mint along the river

Not a butterfly yet, Black Swallowtail, munching on dill

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