Excited, Excited, Excited!!!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)April 2, 2014

Can you tell I'm excited? :/

I took some verbenas to the garden I just bought at Walmart to plant in a pot out there, and I saw a pearl crescent flitting around. When I saw her flitting around the Georgia asters, I stood perfectly still. She stayed and stayed in the asters, and after she left, I carefully lifted up a leaf and found a large cluster of tiny eggs!!

I've never seen a pearl crescent caterpillar, which is apparently not unusual, since the lepidoptera author David Wagner says he's never seen one either. I've read that they use asters, so, I planted several varieties of asters last year, including some Georgia asters in a prominent spot in my garden. They're VERY vigorous, having spread from one plant all over the raised bed they're in, and last year they grew tall and made beautiful, large asters.

Anyway, I've been looking for pearl crescent/pearly crescentspot eggs and caterpillars for about ?14 years, with no success. It feels beyond wonderful that she found and used my Georgia asters - YAY!!

I'll get a picture when I can, but I don't want to go back now, because she might want to lay more eggs.

Sherry

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shannon74

Love the Pearl Crescent. can't wait to see pics of the eggs!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:13PM
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coolbutterfly(5A)

What a fantastic way to start to your butterfly season....Congrats Miss Sherry! Tony

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:10PM
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tom123_gw

Congratulations, Sherry!!!!

So happy for you.

Looking forward to pictures.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:40PM
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Leafhead

Congrats on collecting the elusive Pearl Crescent eggs :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:56AM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

That is so, so incredible! We are excited too--can't wait for the pics! Your heart must have been a-pounding!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:45AM
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susanlynne1948(7a-OKC)

Congrats, MissSherry! Very exciting indeed!

The only person I know who has captured and raised Pearl Crescents is Sandy, Butterflymomok (?). She has photos on her pdase page.

I have never found any either. I have seen the PCs flitting around and appear to lay eggs on the Aster oblongifolium that I had, but never found the eggs. I have even seen evidence of munching and lots of tiny frass, but no cats. I also so lots of wasps on the plants.....yikes!

Keep us posted on their progress.

Susan

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:49AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Susan, it's good to hear from you again!

The bed the asters are in is a corner bed, so I put some bridal veil around the outside of the fence and attached it. I'll go to Walmart and get some more material, then attach some to finish the triangle, plus put some on top. Since this bed has benefit of the fence on two of the three sides, I can protect them without the material actually touching the plants, sort of like I'm building a caterpillar cage. Of course, it won't keep out some bugs that can enter from the bottom, and, unless I seal the sides, a wasp might get in, but it will definitely deter them, maybe stop them altogether. I had to finish raising the last 2 of the 4 viceroy or RSP cats myself that were on the potted willow, because two disappeared, I'm sure victim of a wasp. How I hate those wasps!

I'll also test some aster leaves to see how they hold up in water. If they do well, I can raise some in a cage, but the leaves look real fleshy, like they'll wilt. As the asters grow, though, the leaves develop longer petioles, so that may change, I'll see.

Thanks all for the replies! Here's a picture I just got of the eggs. There may be more than one cluster, but I'm only aware of this one -

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:38AM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Oh, how fun! She must have read the misssherry's garden reviews on GW and wanted her youngsters to have the best. ;) Looking forward to seeing photos.
--------
ha-ha I left mid-write to feed the birds, and you snuck in a photo.

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 11:57

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:55AM
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zieglergarden(9B)

Wow that's so cool!
How long have you had the plant for?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:20PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Just since last year.

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:41PM
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bethpierce77

Congrats!!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:07PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I wanted to add something here. I just recently ordered three A. tomentosa vines to plant in a new bed. I got these vines from Pine Ridge Gardens in Arkansas, which is where I got the Georgia asters. Mary Ann lists Georgia asters as A. grandiflorus, but other sites call them A. georgiana or something like that. Many sites use the new term, Symphyotrichum instead of Aster, which has further confused the issue, which was already confused enough, because there are so many types of asters, including many that are probably local hybrids.

So, my point is, I'm not sure my asters are really Georgia asters. Whatever they are, the pearl crescents like them, though, and that's what counts! The eggs hadn't hatched as of yesterday, but I think I'll finish out the 'cage' today.

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 12:33PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Congrats Sherry.

A friend got me started raising Pearl Crescents when he shared some larvae with me. In my garden, they love New England Asters. He recommended using potted Asters, netting the butterflies, and then putting them into a container with the asters. If the asters are blooming, they will have food. A day or two in the container and they will lay on the asters. Then, set them free. I've raised hundreds of Pearl Crescents using this method.

Here is a link that might be useful: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Asters

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:22AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The eggs are changing color, so they may finally be about to hatch. While I was out in the garden looking under the leaf, she came to the raised bed where the asters are growing. She flitted around and stayed for a while in a section that I couldn't see, but I think she laid a small cluster there. Then, about a minute later, she came back and stayed what seemed like an hour while I was sitting there. I could see her lower abdomen touching the underside of the leaf, so I knew she was laying eggs. When she left, I looked under the leaf, and there was a HUGE cluster of eggs!

I took a picture of her while she was basking in the asters -

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Leafhead

Sweet shot!! And double bonus; you got more eggs to raise :-D
Congrats on your keen eye in collecting a species rarely seen in its caterpillar stage.

John

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:39PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Congrats, Sherry! I never saw the eggs. Please document and share the growth with us.

Sandy

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:50PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'll try to, Sandy, but everything about this butterfly is SO tiny! I may have to wait to take caterpillar pictures when they're big enough to be seen. :/

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:49AM
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