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Article on butterfly conditions in Texas

Posted by linda_tx8 (My Page) on
Mon, May 7, 12 at 19:09

I saw this in the newspaper this Sunday. Now, I was disappointed that they didn't comment on the virtual absence of swallowtails in Texas, but still, they had some interesting observations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Article

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Article on butterfly conditions in Texas

I'm not familiar with that type of sulphur, but the people of south Texas sure are, Linda!

'Interesting that he mentioned the lack of parasites for the huge numbers. I think that's what's caused the big numbers of red admirals, too - I found a grand total of ONE of their usual parasitic wasps this year.


RE: Article on butterfly conditions in Texas

And I can confirm an extremely low population of wasps in general in my area. When I DO see a occasional wasp, I'm now surprised and I stop and go watch it! Normally, I'd be seeing lots and wouldn't pay any attention!

RE: Article on butterfly conditions in Texas

I have seen a few wasps here in OKC, but not near as many as usual, and have also found several white cocoons when I open the leaves on my False Nettle looking for Red Admiral larvae. Not having good survival rates this year like I usually do.

What I am seeing here is a lack of honey bees and I grow lots of bee-friendly plants.

In several posts in the last month, people have noted the larger than normal populations of Red Admirals (others mentioned it, too), as well high numbers of Mourning Cloaks as mentioned in the article, and also Painted Ladies (large thistle and mallow populations noted), Variegated Fritillaries (passiflora species remaining evergreen over a mild winter?). I am also seeing high volume of Hackberry and Tawny Emperors, and Question Marks. I had 33 Hackberry and Tawny Emperors on the banana feeder on Sunday! I had been seeing as many as 10 MCs on the feeder, but warmer temps have probably either sent them North or to aestivating in trees and brush. I have a very small urban yard, and these are huge numbers for me.

I've also seen a notable increase in Cabbage Whites, as have many vegetable gardeners in Oklahoma have. They are not happy about it and arguably so, because they consume the crucifer crops. I had a burst in growth of Cleome, also a favorite larval host plant, in numbers I haven't ever seen before, so obviously it doesn't need low chilling temps to break dormancy and perhaps the mild winter temps added to the germination percentage of self-sown seeds. I wondered. The larvae have literally skelotonized the Cleome foliage this year.

I haven't seen very many predators either. Low Wasps and Lacewings. Neither have I seen any Praying Mantids, Stink Bugs, or many Spiders yet, but it is early still and they could still show up, don't you think?

I'm attaching another article in a NY newspaper commenting on the large population of RAs and noting big numbers for other species as well FYI Northerners! Also quoting Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch.


Here is a link that might be useful: High Butterfly Numbers 2012

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