Buckeye and Monarch Cats

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)August 23, 2011

I was down by the main road yesterday, so I decided to check out the size/growth of Agalinis fasciulata, the only plant I've ever found a buckeye caterpillar on. I've planted many other members of the snapdragon family, including snapdragons themselves, with no results, also the native petunia/Ruellia carolinensis, equally futile. I'm not giving up on the petunias, though, because they're still new, and buckeyes don't usually show up until late summer, early fall. By the way, R. carolinensis volunteers freely - I've been potting up the small plants to plant in the "meadow" up by the main road where the Agalinis grows. This is a very vigorous plant, grows quickly, makes the longest tap root I've ever seen, and makes beautiful blue/purple flowers. Hopefully, if the pretty petunias grow by the Agalinis, the buckeyes will get the message that they're supposed to lay eggs on this plant! :)

Here's the first tiny little hatchling buckeye cats of the year -

The monarch eggs are hatching out, leaving the tell-tale holes in the leaves. Here's a picture of two, although one is too blurry to be seen -

I'm seriously thinking about buying a new camera, probably a Panasonic Lumix like Mary in Arkansas has. It's really difficult to get a good picture with this $100 camera.


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Sherry, if anyone should invest in a good camera, it's YOU with all the amazing lep action that comes your way.

...and the great thing about digital cameras is you can get great cameras at a fraction of the price they used to be.

Taker a look on amazon.com. The customer reviews really help. I know there are some good threads on here about cameras too.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:36PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I just recently planted some Ruellia humilis (the native petunia up here) for the same reason! I want buckeyes to use my plant to lay eggs on! A small Buckeye was one of my first butterflies this year. Right now though, it's like there's a bubble over top of me...I see hardly anything. An occasional skipper or cabbage white...but other than that, nadda. Really weird.

As for cameras, I used Amazon to read the reviews and took those with a grain of salt. IMHO, there's too many people that think a bad photo is a good photo and so give a good review of a not so good camera. There's also a lot of people that simply want it on auto, just point and shoot. It's also hard to find reviews about the macro setting on-line. I researched on-line, then headed to Best Buy. I went to Wal-Mart, but the majority of their cameras were really low end and didn't have batteries in them, so I couldn't play with them at all. The person in that dept. wasn't too helpful, not willing to put in batteries, didn't know anything about the different cameras, etc. etc. I wish you good luck in your search!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:02PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)


Go to BH Photo on the internet and read all the reviews and specs for the different cameras. You may also find that they have the best prices. I purchase most of my equipment from them.

BTW, I absolutely love my new Canon Rebel T2i with a 18-135 lens that has macro. The lens is incredible and has Image Stabilization. I will be posting photos that I took with this camera soon.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:53PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks Terry, Tony, and Sandy!

I'm interested in a Panasonic model that has a touch screen. According to the info, you can make photographs using the macro mode at 1" from the subject. This is what I really want to be able to do. The camera I've got now goes totally blurry when you get up that close. This camera is a little less expensive than the one Mary has, but then hers does things I'm not interested in doing. B&H has the best price, plus free shipping, so I'll definitely get it there if I get it. There are no reviews of it on the B&H site, but there is one review of it on Amazon, and it's a 5-star review.

Anybody ever had a camera with a touch screen? Do you like it?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 7:50PM
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A pretty sure bet to attract Buckeye ovum to your garden that you might try is Plantago lanceolata or major. I've found their larva on both of them almost any place in NA I've collected if a Buckeye colony was there, and always used them as the standard to rear them on at home no matter what plant the larva were originally found on (ie, they'll easily switch to them). Both of these plaintains are found in all of America and most of Canada in disturbed areas. Another possibility commonly used by them that I've found them on many times if you have or can create the habitat for it is Ludwigia palustris or peploides, both found in most of the country. I've even found their larva completely submerged and happily feeding away on Ludwigia several inches below the water surface. Took some pictures of those, but don't remmeber if they were slides or prints so if I still have them. FWIW anyway.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 10:27PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Buckeyes on Ludwigia? That's a surprise, Larry!
The only native Ludwigia I see around here is L. octovalvis, but I've seen some type of it growing with a larger flower - it grows in water, so it might be L. peploides. There are many Ludwigias that are listed as native to this part of the state, though, so I'll have to investigate growing some.
I've grown Plantago lanceolata, but it never got any eggs/cats on it, and it died out after a few years. The spot where I planted it wasn't the best, though, so I might try another spot. L. caroliniana grows here and there along my road, but I've never found any cats/eggs on that one either. They REALLY love Agalinis here!
The petunias will look good and provide nectar even if they don't get any eggs, so I'm going to still keep planting them, but I'll pursue the Ludwigias - it's also a host plant for one of the sphinx moths that I've seen here (banded?, can't remember) so it might do double duty.

I ordered the Panasonic - 'can't wait to get it and start using it!


    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:09PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Sherry, our camcorder has a touchscreen. It's touchy, the screen is small, your fingers don't always hit the right spot, easiest inside than outside....outside easier to use manual buttons than the touchscreen because you simply can't see it!

I remember now hearing that the is plantain a host for the buckeye. But, seeing as it's a weed, and we have enough weeds as it is, I opted not to dig one up at a friends moms house..lol..

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:10PM
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While Buckeyes will nectar at flowers, they much prefer and get most of what they need elsewhere. Most certainly a species can be an oligophagous feeder in the area it is at, accpet a narrow range of plants and ignore others the species uses elsewhere even if they are present. While some of the Luwigias grown in dry areas, most prefer lots of water, many are completely aquatic. Plantago seems to do best in areas that get indirect ground water, so maybe some neglect would help them along. Here in the west they are commonly found along ditch banks or dry washes, along the borders of agricultural fields, etc. And occssionally in unkept lawns. Regardless, figuring them out is part of the enjoyment.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Sandy - how are the Macro pictures on your T2i? I'm considering this camera.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 10:36AM
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