Just when I thought I was out....

terrene(5b MA)September 30, 2011

They pull me back in!! LOL

On Tuesday morning I released the last Monarch. Have 2 Black Swallowtails and 7 Spicebush swallowtails in chrysalises that are going to over-winter, but thought butterfly-rearing season was over.

Went out to the garden later Tuesday afternoon, to look at the Foxgloves, and noticed something was eating the top of one of the Rue plants. Look down, a 5th instar Black swallowtail cat! Brought him inside, and he pupated this morning. He will no doubt overwinter along with his friends, I assume.

So now I REALLY think butterfly rearing season is over. But no! I go out to the garden a little while ago, and notice the tattered Great Spangled Fritillary that has been nectaring on the Zinnias and Tithonia the past few days. It's nice to see a butterfly because it's pretty quiet now. Then she flys over to a wild garden, and goes down to a patch of violets. She starts crawling over the violets. I bend down to look closer and she's ovipositing!!

I found 3 eggs. They are kind of yellow-orange. I know next to nothing about their life cycle, although they must overwinter here somehow. Anybody have any advice on raising these?? What have I gotten myself into, lol.

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I can't give you any advice or help on raising great spangled frits from personal experience, but I can copy this from The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars by Thomas J. Allen -
"Oviposition by females usually begins in August and continues until the individual dies. Eggs are deposited singly on or near violet plants. Once the larvae hatch, about 4 weeks later, they crawl to a protected site in the leaf litter and diapause until spring. The larvae feed on the young violet leaves in spring."
I'd be stoked if I had the great spangled fritillary life cycle going on in my garden! Congrats, congrats!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 3:41PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Thanks MissSherry. I looked at the Massachusetts Butterfly Club website and it says "Flight Period: June 13 - October 8 (mainly late June to early September)", and "Overwintering: Unfed 1st instar - Larva". Hmmmm.

Maybe I should put the eggs back out in the violets so the hatchlings can overwinter in the appropriate habitat.

This butterfly thing really does pull you in!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 6:26PM
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