Monday, October 7, 2013

Butterflies Visiting My North Texas Yard in Fall 2013

October is the season of butterflies here in North Texas - and we have several types - I am dismayed because I've not seen the quantity of butterflies as in previous years.  I'm concerned about pesticide and herbicide overuse resulting in declining numbers of these pollinators (at least around my house).  I left the back half of my property un-mowed so that wildflowers (wild asters) could attract them.  I also have lantana, salvia, and turk's cap which are also favorites of these winged insects.  

I purchased a wonderful butterfly identifier wheel many years ago that I keep on my refrigerator.   You can see that it also identifies each distinct caterpillar.

If you have time to watch it, I found a terrific video from PBS Central Texas Gardener on Butterfly Gardening.  It is very inspirational.

I noticed migrating Monarchs began coming through my yard on Sunday, October 6, 2013.  Here is a link to a web site discussing their route to Mexico with a map showing their migration route.

Monarch on wild aster.

Sipping nectar on aster.

Swallowtail on Vitex.  Check out the butterfly's body.  The stripes match up with the wings.  I had never noticed this before on a butterfly - I wonder if they are all this way regardless of the type of butterfly?

Note the 2 striped caterpillars on the most right flower in the photo below.  I think they are webworms and are the caterpillar of a moth.  I'll update the post when I confirm.

 Gulf Fritillary on wild aster.

Outer wings of Gray Hairstreak on aster.

Back of Gray Hairstreak 

 2 shades of black Swallowtail - note that one has a lot of blue.  All are on lantana.

I found a photograph I took this spring of the black swallowtail caterpillar on my dill plant.

I usually see lots of Painted Ladies.  This is one of 2 I have seen this year - worrisome.

Buckeye on aster.

Outside wings of a buckeye.

And finally I got a picture of an Alfalfa Butterfly, although the pictures are not the best.

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