BUTTERFLIES - AGAIN!

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    May 11, 2014 11:02 PM GMT
    Within our patio garden, which is mostly cooking herbs, we grow non-herbal plants favored by some caterpillars, where butterflies lay their eggs. I've posted the pics of the caterpillars and their progress into butterflies in past years here before.

    This year we've got a bumper crop, 13 caterpillars we've counted so far today, all appearing to be monarchs, but my husband's not sure. We think there are more.

    Some are on our herbs, though, which we don't want, so we're gonna go out tomorrow and buy some more milkweed and transfer them over. Monarchs love milkweed, grow fast & big on it, if that's what they are. Otherwise our dill & parsley are goners.

    And then I'll post more pics as they grow. They're kinda small right now.
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    May 11, 2014 11:29 PM GMT
    OK, here's one munching on our dill, another devastating our parsley. Now that I can see them more clearly with the macro lens, and the plants they're on, I'm more in agreement with my husband who thinks these are Black Swallowtail butterflies.

    P1030016-Version2_zps09adc821.jpg

    P1030018-Version2_zps8bb94928.jpg
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    May 11, 2014 11:34 PM GMT
    Very awesome man. Not something I get to see a lot of on my own plants. icon_smile.gif
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    May 11, 2014 11:39 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidOK, here's one munching on our dill, another devastating our parsley. Now that I can see them more clearly with the macro lens, and the plants they're on, I'm more in agreement with my husband who thinks these are Black Swallowtail butterflies.

    P1030016-Version2_zps09adc821.jpg

    P1030018-Version2_zps8bb94928.jpg


    It's so cute i wanna rub them with my finger, unless they're poisonous
  • carew28

    Posts: 658

    May 11, 2014 11:43 PM GMT
    Thanks for the photos. If they're feeding on dill and parsley, it's more likely that indeed they are Black Swallowtails, which are very beautiful butterflies, if you can bring yourself to let them have the dill.

    Monarch butterflies need all the help that they can get right now, they're declining in numbers due to the lumbering on their wintering grounds in Mexico, which have now declined to just a few acres. The caterpillars depend upon milkweed, which is also declining due to genetically-modified foodcrops, which are resistant to pesticide. The pesticides are now being applied more thoroughly, and are killing off weeds, including milkweed, that formerly were able to sustain the monarchs. It would help the monarchs if communities would set aside vacant lots and fields where milkweed could be permitted to grow.
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    May 11, 2014 11:47 PM GMT
    TwisttheLeaf saidVery awesome man. Not something I get to see a lot of on my own plants. icon_smile.gif

    Well, that's South Florida for yah. At the same time, though, we actually have far fewer flying insect pests than I've encountered in other parts of the US (the Everglades excluded).

    I'm not an entomologist, or zoologist, but my guess is it's because of all the year-round insect predators we have here. Especially all the little lizards.

    I'm judging just by the windshield hits on my cars and motorcycles. Except for "kissing bug" season I almost never get a bug hit on my car windshield or radiator, whereas in the US Upper Midwest and Canada it's terrible. I can drive 400 miles round trip to Key West and never have a single bug hit.
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    May 11, 2014 11:49 PM GMT
    carew28 saidThanks for the photos. If they're feeding on dill and parsley, it's more likely that indeed they are Black Swallowtails, which are very beautiful butterflies, if you can bring yourself to let them have the dill.

    Monarch butterflies need all the help that they can get right now, they're declining in numbers due to the lumbering on their wintering grounds in Mexico, which have now declined to just a few acres. The caterpillars depend upon milkweed, which is also declining due to genetically-modified foodcrops, which are resistant to pesticide. The pesticides are now being applied more thoroughly, and are killing off weeds, including milkweed, that formerly were able to sustain the monarchs. It would help the monarchs if communities would set aside vacant lots and fields where milkweed could be permitted to grow.

    We try to do our part by growing milkweed. But we haven't seen any caterpillars on them in a while. We've decided to let them have the dill & parsley, buy them more if they run out (there's at least 13 of them!). We have to renew the herb plants periodically anyway, they don't do all that well on our south-facing patio, with Florida heat and strong direct sun.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2603

    May 12, 2014 12:04 AM GMT
    What fascinating, beautiful photographs, and thanks for posting them!

    When I was a boy, we had a huge garden and my father filled it with flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits, etc., and come summer, it was full of butterflies feeding and laying eggs; and later, caterpillars munching their way through many of the plants; though not the variety and size of those in sub-tropical climes like Florida.

    Sadly, those days are gone. You hardly see butterflies here, just the odd one or two. Even the really common pest species like Cabbage White are much rarer; probably a result of disappearance of habitat, the increase in new crops, and their spraying.
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    May 12, 2014 12:26 AM GMT
    Nice shots, Art Deco!
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    May 12, 2014 12:32 AM GMT
    Lincsbear saidWhat fascinating, beautiful photographs, and thanks for posting them!

    When I was a boy, we had a huge garden and my father filled it with flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits, etc., and come summer, it was full of butterflies feeding and laying eggs; and later, caterpillars munching their way through many of the plants; though not the variety and size of those in sub-tropical climes like Florida.

    Sadly, those days are gone. You hardly see butterflies here, just the odd one or two. Even the really common pest species like Cabbage White are much rarer; probably a result of disappearance of habitat, the increase in new crops, and their spraying.

    Thanks, I'll be posting more pics, as I have before. I really should buy a camera tripod, the lens stabilization system doesn't seem to work as well when in macro close-up mode.

    My late Father had an extensive backyard garden in the summer, as did my husband's Father, both of them raised on farms. And home gardens were especially encouraged during WWII as a patriotic effort to help with food rationing, a custom that continued for a time after the war.

    At various times he grew tomatoes, corn, eggplant, horseradish (nothing is as strong as fresh ground horseradish, the way I still love it), lettuce, peas, green beans, green peppers, gosh so much stuff.

    The front yard was my widowed grandmother's domain, who lived with us, and it was all flower beds. She especially prized her tulips, and her Japanese cherry trees. In Spring the buzzing of the bees was so loud, among all the flowers & blossoms, I still remember it, but I never got stung.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    May 12, 2014 1:05 AM GMT
    thanks, I love butterflies and fireflies icon_smile.gif
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    May 12, 2014 1:14 AM GMT
    owl_bundy said
    the fuck is that?? is that real??? looks like it's from the some freaky shit from resident evil.

    Just a butterfly caterpillar. There are far freakier ones than this, that include moths, with "fur" and poisonous spines.

    4087c7b919b3d7c3f4a32080079bb5e0.jpg

    beautiful_caterpillars_01.jpg

    wildCaterpillar-26.jpg

    (Not my pics, found on the Internet)
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    May 12, 2014 1:23 AM GMT
    wrestlervic saidNice shots, Art Deco!

    Thanks! Especially coming from you, our resident RJ Nature photographer. icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 12, 2014 12:23 PM GMT
    Male Black Swallowtail butterfly:

    800px-Black_Swallowtail%2C_male%2C_Ottaw

    Female:

    800px-Pristine_Black_Swallowtail.jpg

    I'm posting these web images because we may never get to see ours. I found a gecko in one of our planters this morning, along with a half-eaten caterpillar. After an inventory we seem to be missing 2 or 3. And I've read birds eat them, too. The guides recommend putting netting over the plants, which we may do.

    I sent my husband out on "guard duty" and sure enough a gecko returned. We already had a spray repellent, and he shot the thing right in the face, yelling: "Get out of here, damn Geico!"

    I told him it was a gecko, not a Geico, unless he sees it walking around on its hind legs, speaking accented English and trying to sell him insurance. Hopefully the repellent will discourage a return visit, but just like the insurance salesman variants, they have quite small brains and are very persistent. Although we're on the second floor they can climb vertical walls very easily, sometimes get inside the condo.