Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Butterflies and weeds

My last post was about invasive weeds, bamboo grass. This post is about weeds that butterflies use as host plants. I used to madly pull up Pearly Everlasting and Pussytoes in my former yard. I did not know then that the American Lady used it as a food plant. Here in paradise there is not much of it in the lawn or garden, there is a lot in the road easement out at the main road though.

The female here is depositing eggs. These American Ladies are common here, rarely we get Painted Ladies to stop in.

American Lady on pussytoes see my page on American Ladies here.
These 2 photos were taken 2 doors down from me at an estate on 300+ acres, I now have permission to roam the estate freely. I found out there is the ruins of a pre-civil war mill called Old Turner Mill on the North Fork of the Little River beside the property. I'll be exploring that once the rainy weather quits.

Nothing to exciting you might think looking at this dull little skipper. Wait these are uncommon to rare and we get at least 2 broods of them here at paradise most years. This is an Hayhurst's Scallopwing, Staphylus hayhurstii and less than 1 inch across with the wings open. When the wings are closed it is the size of a pinky fingernail. More on this little skipper can be found at my Butterflies of the Carolina & Virginias Website.
Another testy weed you think, well yes it is Lambsquarters, Chenopodium album
Lambsquarters can be difficult to control. I pull out the ones in the way and leave a few for the Hayhurst's Scallopwing to use as a food plant.

Silvery Checkerspot, Chlosyne nycteis these brushfoot butterflies visit us once in a while. Wingstems and sunflowers are the food plants for these and there are lots of these native plants growing along the North Fork of the Little River not far from here. More at my web page on the Silvery Checkerspot.

Bonus image! Great Blue Skimmer, Libellula vibrans. This medium sized dragonfly likes landing on antenneas, any upright perch or as in this case a purple rope. Usually they like to hang around woodland edges and our gardens is that exactly.


Sunita said...

What a lot of flying creatures! Gorgeous!

Janet Creamer said...

Beautiful pics, Randy!

Ginger said...

Love that last picture!

I've left all kinds of things growing for the bugs --- even a huge ugly shrub because bees like it so much.

sweet bay said...

I must look up the difference between American Ladies and Painted Ladies. My insect guide (Audubon Society) lists American Painted Ladies. lol

sweet bay said...

I just looked in my book again and they have Painted Lady and American Painted Lady. I'll have to look more closely at my Painted Ladies!

Randy Emmitt said...

Sweet Bay,
The name American Painted Lady is not used anymore and it makes it more confusing.

The best guide for our butterflies in the east is Butterflies Though Binoculars the East by J Glassberg.

sweet bay said...

Thanks Randy! I will have to get that guide.

Warren Baker said...

That Great Blue Skimmer is just brilliant, nice photo!

Q said...

Always love seeing the butterflies.
I know I will miss them come winter....
I appriciate the host plants. I keep planting more and more. I planted hops for the Question Mark and Eastern Comma. I see leaves are being eaten.
Looking forward to your photographs of the ruins....

Shady Gardener said...

I had let a little clump (of what I learned just this Spring) was Pussytoes. Cute name and it fits. However, I'd pulled most of it up before I discovered its identity. There are a couple of other little clumps growing now... and with the info you just provided, I guess I'll continue to let it grow!! :-)

Rosey Pollen said...

If I took pictures as good as you, I would have a great one of when a dragonfly was in our bathroom the othernight. Very hard to catch and release outside!
Even though I know they ard harmless, I still coudn't help being freaked out when it flew in my hair!
I like your close-ups of the blue dragonfly.
I never thought of lambs quarters as being host plants. Now, I can let a few grown and not feel so bad about weeding them all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting Henbogle, I'm glad you did as now I've found your very interesting blog. I have a coleague who is working on a project on Maine butterflies, I will pass your blog along to him.

Great photos and I can see I will learn a lot. I make it a point to leave bee & butterfly plants around the yard, and this spring was rewarded with Black Swallowtail larvae on my parsley. I'm working on a nice milkweed stand, too, I hope it will attract some Monarchs.


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