ID help please

jodikaySeptember 29, 2010

Can someone ID the butterfly and the caterpillar in the following pictures? Both pictures were taken early this week. the butterly is on asters and the caterpillar is on a heart leaved alexander. both plants are in my new native plant garden that i started late last year. i tried doing a search but am having zero luck.

thanks for the help


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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

The butterfly on the asters is a Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Aglais milberti; the caterpillar is a Black Swallowtail, papilio polyxenes. We don't see the Milbert's Tortoiseshell here--such a beautiful butterfly.

Thanks for sharing your photos.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:48PM
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Thats is a strange and lovely butterfly.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Sandy, thanks! After I took the caterpillar picture, the next day I found 2 caterpillars, happily munching away. My gardens have been full of butterflies this year. Its been a real pleasure to watch.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:12PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Wow. Really neat pics! That butterfly is super cool. Would adore seeing one of those. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:34PM
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Such a beautiful butterfly!

My Black Swallowtail caterpillars would not have survived without the Zizia aptera this summer. They first ate all the fennel and Rue and then the Zizia. I have not one host plant left for them so I was thankful to have it as a back up. It is not their first preference here in Oklahoma, but I understand it is in the North.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:38AM
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terrene(5b MA)

That is a pretty little butterfly. It's amazing that the BST caterpillars find nourishment on those drying up Zizia leaves. I used Z. aptera and a bit of Z. aurea leaves for my BSTs. Didn't see any adults or larvae on the plants, but the big BST cats munched the leaves down. Next year I am adding planning to grow Rue and more Zizia plants from seed, and am going to pamper the existing Zizia plants a bit more because they were a great backup food when the supply of Dill and parsley ran low.

Big cats munching on Zizia -

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:01AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The tortoiseshell is so beautiful! I wish they occurred here!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:50AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Hmmmm...well, we learn something new every day! I never knew of the plant called Zizia aptera or that it was a host for the Black SWT's. Now that I know, I just have to have some. I love that the leaves are so huge. Lots of good cat food! Thanks y'all!~Angie

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:42PM
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Beautiful butterfly! That's one I've never seen. There are a few counties in my state that have it recorded but not even close to me so I probably never will.
Pretty asters too. Your new native garden is paying off.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Great pictures. Nymphalis milberti are very common in the riparian mountains of the west any place where Urtica dioica or U. procera grows, especially along stream banks and seeps. Makes my fingers itch just wishing I could be in their habitat again. Nettle hunts were always very rewarding as you could find the Nymphalis milberti plus N. antiopa, Vanessa atalanta, V. cardui, V. carye, V. viginiensis, Polygonia satyrus, Arctia caja and a host of other moth larva all at the same time in the same stand of nettles. I used to laugh at my family and most of my collecting partners as they bundled up in long pants/sleeves/gloves and just picked at them. I always waded right in up to my neck even in the large, head high stands as I had been stung so many times since I was a small kid by nettles and caterpillars that they really didn't bother me much. Back home the ex "let me" clean and feed any cages with nettle in them (but she was in up to her elbows with almost any other plants). She mostly also "let me" do any that had cats with urticating hairs.

Ladobe's Buckbrush Philosophy: "Let you" is one of those female commands that are expertly disguised as doing you a favor.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 3:39PM
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