Gregg's Mist Flower And Butterflies

sandhill_farms(10 NV)October 30, 2010

Greetings, I've never posted here before but I thought that I'd share a Photo that I shot yesterday of what I believe is a Monarch Butterfly on my Gregg's Mist Flower - (Eupatorium greggii). I know next to nothing about Butterflies so I'm just guessing that this is a Monarch. The Gregg's Mist Flower plant that I have is huge and here lately has just been covered with these Butterflies as well as bees. Next spring I plan on growing more plants that attract Butterflies as soon as I can find-out what plants will grow here. I live in the Southern Nevada desert in a small rural valley that's 60 miles outside of Las Vegas.


Southern Nevada

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That's a beautiful picture, Greg, of a west coast lady/Vanessa annabella, closely related to painted and American ladies. The various mist flowers are big butterfly attractors, and the host plant for west coast ladies are mallows - I think people out west have said they mainly use cheeseweed.
Thanks for posting!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 3:48PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

So I guess what you're saying is that it's not a Monarch Butterfly? I have so much to learn. Oh, and thanks for the compliment, aside from gardening my other love is Photography and being retired I spend all of my time doing one or the other - or both.

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:20PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

One other thing - Would someone please post a Photo of a Monarch that would be found here in Southern Nevada so I can see the difference? Thanks!

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:25PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Monarchs are the same all over the country. Here's a picture showing the undersides, mostly -

If you're becoming interested in butterflies, a good field guide, like Butterflies of North America by Brock & Kaufman would be helpful.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 6:57PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

Thank you for posting that Photo. Wow, they both look so very similar.

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 8:51PM
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Hi Greg.

I'm in Las Vegas. Sounds like you might be down around Searchlight or Cal-Nev-Ari.

There are some look-a-likes flying in our area right now of the above mentioned species as well. So maybe some pictures side by side will help you see that the different genera are actually quite different.

At least two Vanessa are flying right now in our area as the end of a southerly fall migration, Vanessa carye (or annabella) and Vanessa cardui. Vanessa virginiensis is also possible here, although I haven't seen any of them this year. For a noobie, probably the easiest guide to tell carye/annabella and cardui apart from a fair distance is by the color of the costal postmedian scales on the dorsal forewing that form a fairly large and distinct slash/spot from the costal margin. In V. carye it is orange and in V. cardui white.

Vanessa carye - Vanessa cardui

Sherry posted a picture of Danaus plexippus that would approximate any you might see in our area, but we also have Danaus gilippus thersippus flying right now.

Danaus plexippus - Danaus gilippus thersippus

Both of these Danids have mimics in our area as well. Limenitis archippus lahontani mimics the D. plexippus here and Limenitis archippus obsoleta the D. g. thersippus.

Limenitis archippus lahontani - Limenitis archippus obsoleta

It's been a very poor year for leps here in Las Vegas, but I'd bet much better in your area with such close proximity to so many of their wild larval food plants in your surrounding hills and flats. You'll have a pretty rare species flying as early as February that doesn't get this far north. When I lived in the far frozen north I used to escape the deep snow and drive down to collect it's livestock out near Christmas Tree Pass. Kind of funny I guess, but I've lived on the Mojave Desert 19 years (in Vegas almost 13 years of it) and have never made the short drive down for that species again in all that time.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:54PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Hi Greg! Welcome to the forum, and I do love your picture! Get yourself a great butterfly book and study it. Once you become addicted (and you will), you will be able to quickly spot very subtle differences in the colors and patterns of each butterfly! There is lots of good info at this forum and lots of nice people who are happy to assist you to learn. :o)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 11:09AM
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