Fall Butterflying

MissButterfly(Z8/9MS)October 6, 2011

Fall is all around here, what with leaves starting to drop, but the heavenly cool weather we were having has passed on, and it's pretty warm today and somewhat cloudy, too.

I'm still raising my buckeyes. I think this cool weather we've had slows down their eating and growth, but today's warm weather should speed things up - only three appear to be fifth instar.

There are sulphurs in the garden, but only one ipevine swallowtail cat left-

The pipevines are making new growth, so I could raise some more caterpillars. There were two tattered male pipevine swallowtails flitting around one tattered female today, so maybe they've got something left and can leave me some eggs that will make up my overwintering chrysalides. I've got a few chrysalides, but I'm thinking they may emerge soon - if they do, then maybe they can give me more eggs.

I ordered and planted a 'Miss Huff' lantana up by the main road. I wanted to have something for butterflies to nectar on up that way, but it has to be real tough - it gets real hot and dry there, so I thought lantana was the best thing.

When I went to check on it, I found this poor bumblebee being taken by this large, green spider -

If anybody knows what type type spider this is, let me know.

There are still hordes of gulf frit cats on what's left of the passionvines. I've noticed that those emerging lately are smaller, so I assume that 'Incense' is the reason. The P. incarnata is all gone, so all they've had to eat is the hybrid 'Incense' - they look healthy, though.

Asters are blooming here everywhere, and I noticed lots of rabbit tobacco/Gnaphalium obtusifolium growing and blooming alongside the Agalinis I'm gathering for my buckeyes. I'm getting Agalinis from a site close to here where it's in profusion, so I won't have to cut off the flowers and future seeds of those growing on my property. If American ladies would just return from wherever they go, they could lay eggs on this host plant and make their cute little nest.

Happy butterflying!


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I know this won't be exactly what you are referring to Sherry, but since I'm a field researcher first and home gardener last... if in this country, October automatically signals that I should be in extreme southern AZ, NM or SW TX doing field work for at least a month, and two would be better. The late rains common in those areas just before and now create a burst of life in those places that easily matches if not surpasses the same that the early season rains do. Besides all the endless resident species that number in the hundreds, some of which have breeding colonies no where else in this country, the strays from as far away as most of South America will be there in force with what is just about ideal weather for the field researcher. IOW, you only have to do extensive field work there once when its 120 plus not to want to do it again if you have a better choice. ;)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Tony G(5a)

nice pictures Sherry. One advantage to living this far north is we don't get nasty looking arachnids like that! Enjoy your fall butterflies. Tony

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:07PM
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It looks like a Green Lynx Spider, MissSherry! Lovely thing, but they tend to lie in wait on flowers to prey on visiting insects, beneficials among them.

Great photos!


Here is a link that might be useful: Green Lynx Spider

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:16PM
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That's amazing, Susan - the picture you linked me to was of a green lynx spider holding onto a bee just like mine. Actually, my bee may have been a carpenter bee and not a bumblebee.
We do get a lot of interesting critters around here, Tony. I almost ran into a banana spider's web this afternoon - now that's one scary looking dude -

Larry, I wish you could get out more and enjoy the leps (especially the rare ones) that will undoubtedly show up soon. I've been noticing the rain in your area on the national radar shown on the local weather report - it's good to see!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:46PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Oh wow, I've seen the banana spider, down in Florida. I'll have to dig up my photo of that beast of a spider. LoL Crazy big it was! :D


    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:06AM
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I have only found the Argiope aurantis in my yard and she is pretty dangerous looking. I had the opportunity last year to observe her up close (females are the most colorful and largest of the species). We fed her grasshoppers and other bugs and she formed 3 egg sacs. I had 3 in the garden this year. It is fascinating to watch her capture her prey, rapidly turn it round and round and around until it is totally encased in her silken trap. She really is adept with those long legs of hers!


    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 7:55AM
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This is the spider time of the year, with webs everywhere!
The banana spiders are especially numerous.
They usually just get other bugs in their webs, no butterflies, so I leave them alone. Also, for whatever reason, they don't show up in my garden.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 10:12AM
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