Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Butterfllies in the garden

I finally spotted a monarch today resting on a coneflower in one of the buttterfly beds today.  Since the milkweed has been in bloom for awhile, I had expected to see them sooner and in larger numbers by now.    Swamp milkweed and butterflyweed are two of the vaieties of milkweed planted in my gradens in hopes of attracting monarch butterflies whose larvae feed exclusively on milkweed.

Swamp milkweed (Ascelpias incarnata) is native to moist soils
 throughout WI
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) grows
 in dry prairies, barrens and savannahs
Mapping of the monarch migration indicates slower progress across the mid-continent than in past years due to colder than normal temperatures slowing monarch life cycles.  As of the end of July the numbers in our area seem to be down significantly from the last several years.


Below are photos of the 4 stages of evolution of the moarch from egg to butterfly to aid in identifying monarch activity:

Monarch eggs and hatching larvae (caterpillar)

Monarch metamorphosis (caterpillar to chrysalis to emerging butterfly)

I don't believe any butterflies have ever made use of my butterfly house anywhere we've lived, but I carefully pieced the rotting wood back together adding a few stone embellishments to cover some of the biggest gaps last year.  It's such a lovely structure I just can't bear to part with it yet.

If one looks carefully a variety of metal insects  can be discovered scattered among the plants in our yard.

A caterpillar...
...turns into a beautiful butterfly
Another butterfly
A butterfly with glass wings
A hanging butterfly swings in the breeze

No comments:

Post a Comment