People like me who spend a lot of time with insects tend to develop a bond with them. I get very attached to my caterpillars and the bugs in my yard, and watching their behavior sometimes makes you think there’s a brain in there.
And then… they do things like this:
This is a Variegated Fritillary butterfly. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one in my yard (I’m SO CLOSE TO 1,000 SPECIES!!!). She is laying eggs on the passion vine that is sprouting in my garden. I have a couple vines that have started up and are several feet long. Is she laying eggs on that one? No. She’s laying eggs on these. Repeatedly.
The Gulf Fritillary caterpillars I’ve raised can destroy an entire leaf in a few hours. *sigh*
I guess when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
She also laid eggs in the passion vine with the fire ant mound around it.
I pulled up this dinky little passion vine sprout and potted it. I’ll at least give these four little caterpillars a chance! Let’s see if I can grow this vine faster than they can eat it!
Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar, obsessed with hygiene
FYI, in case y’all don’t know about the caterpillar gif blog, I have a caterpillar gif blog. Where I post… caterpillar gifs. Here is one of the black swallowtail babies who is… taking a bath instead of stuffing his face and growing asap so I can take pictures without using the microscope???
I am too distracted to figure out how I want to handle x-posting so if you want to for sure see all the caterpillar content, keep an eye over there!
Releasing butterflies during over a week of rainstorms has NOT been easy! Yesterday, the last three of my milkweed babies emerged, two Queens and a Monarch. And I could not release them yesterday.
I was out birding all morning, and by the afternoon they were RESTLESS and I gave them some nectar since they were probably hungry. But the turds couldn’t find the nectar. When the weather cleared up, I took them outside, and two of them wanted to be hand-fed before they would leave me. Great chance to show a side-by-side comparison of the two species!
Ignore the color, focus on the pattern instead. Monarch (top) had black veins on the top wing (forewing), while the Queen has white dots only. The white patches on the Monarch are bordered with black, but have no border on the Queen.
The color and size of each species may vary, but the features I mention above are always the same. The Queen has a very restricted range, so unless you are in or near Texas, you are unlikely to meet a Queen.