Summer Moving Right Along

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)July 7, 2012

After a long, hot, dry month, it's rained significantly twice this past week, with predictions of more to come. I sure hope so, because that dry weather makes gardening so hard, and it makes me worry about the trees and plants in the woods drying up. I didn't post much during that time, because I spent most of my spare time watering! Most of my butterflies are chrysalides now, I've only got 5 caterpillars in the cages - one giant swallowtail, one red-spotted purple, and three tiger swallowtails in the last instar. I made this picture the other day when they were all on the same branch. This is very unusual, because they don't like each other's company. I added another left overs container with cherry branches to the cage to keep them happy and far apart -

I'm glad it's been raining lately, but it sure has made my garden sauna-like! So I couldn't stay out there too long, but I got two pictures. My favorite skipper is the long-tailed skipper -

I find it very hard to photograph sulphurs, but I like this picture I got of a male cloudless sulphur nectaring on Salvia guaranitica. Male cloudless sulphurs are so pretty, being pure greenish yellow -

The Aralia spinosa/devil's walking sticks are in bloom now and are covered with bees. On my way out to Walmart I saw a yellow female tiger swallowtail nectaring on the flowers right in the middle of the bees. 'Wish I'd had my camera!


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Great pics, Miss Sherry. When you see a Red Spotted Purple please post a picture. I don't seem to see them around here.

I did see two black tigers last week, however. It's always cool to see them.

Here in Central Florida the mosquitos are as bad as I have seen them--ever. It's difficult to garden and not get eaten. I come in with blood on my legs from killing them after they've had something to drink.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:28PM
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Beautiful Sulphur! I get the Orange Sulphurs, haven't had one of these yet, would really love to see one!
What host plant(s) do you have for them?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:52PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Shirley, all the sulphurs we have around here use various types of senna/cassia. In my garden, they mainly use Christmas cassia/Cassia bicapsularis, but when sicklepods/C. obtusifolia pop up, they'll use them, too. Sicklepod is a common roadside weed, a South American native, that pops up everywhere. They're supposed to use partridge pea, a native member of that family that grows roadside, but I've never found a caterpillar on it - I don't understand why, because the ferny, tender leaves look like just what cats, at least early instar cats, like to eat. Maybe sicklepod, also with tender leaves, has replaced the native host plant? Christmas cassia isn't native, either, another South American native. Anyway, the only common sulphurs here are cloudless sulphurs, sleepy oranges, and little yellows. I occasionally see a dainty sulphur, but I've never found a caterpillar.

Tom, the mosquitoes were bad earlier this year, but they're not as bad now. I took a picture of a red-spotted purple a few weeks ago. They're 'tame' butterflies, hanging out on my porch and steps often -

And here's a picture of the underside -


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Well, I have Wild Senna and something has been munching on it, will have to check it a little closer. I have another type of cassia out there too, can't remember where it is-that comes from having too many plants in small gardens!

I have the partridge pea too, but have never seen a butterfly or cat on it.

But hopefully, between these two, I'll have a cloudless come in!

I had Red Spotted Purples 2 years ago, all summer, and thought it was a little odd-I didn't have a host plant for them. So I bought a black cherry and a willow, which are supposed to be hosts for them, and I've never seen a RSP since. Strange.

Beautiful pictures!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:45PM
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The Red Spotted Purple looks something like a Pipevien--of which I have many. They love the tomentosa...

What do you use for the RSP as larval food, Miss Sherry? Do they visit flowers?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:30PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

They occasionally visit flowers, Tom, but not often. Mostly, they visit, manure - my husband calls them those '_ _ _ _ -eating butterflies'! :/ My neighbors have horses and cows, so they have their choice. I've read that they'll eat the syrup mixtures, also rotting fruit, but they've never eaten mine. They do go to wet ground a lot, like they're getting something from there. And, again, they visit flowers occasionally.
They use wild black cherry/Prunus serotina 95% of the time here. They'll also use willows and crabapples occasionally.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:00PM
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monkeybelle(7A NJ (Camden County))

beautiful pictures! I just love that little skipper!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:42PM
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I have a very large wild black cherry tree and dog do do on my lawn. I still can't remember seeing one. Do they fly slow or are the very fast? I still might have difficulties telling one from a Pipevine. The Pipevines tend to travel very fast.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:30PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Their flight is much slower, they don't flutter their wings a lot like pipevine swallowtails, they usually stay close to the ground, usually fly in circular patterns sort of like monarchs do.
My field guide shows the range of red-spotted purples as far south as the central part of the Florida peninsula, so they may not occur where you are, Tom.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Tom - They look like a swallowtail without a tail so look for the lack of a tail to make them easy to recognize if you do have them in your area. And pick up an extra melon from the grocery store next time that's good and ripe. That attracts them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:09AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Beautiful picture, Christie!

I'll have to try cantaloupe - maybe they like that better than watermelon!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:27AM
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