Spread Your Wings: A few interesting facts about some moths and butterflies and caterpillars. If kept as pets it might be helpful for you to know their natural habits.
1. The adult cecropia is one of the largest moths in North America. The silk cocoon containing the pupa of this moth is often spun to a twig, on the branch of a tree.
2. The adult Luna moth is a common night creature east of the Rockies. The Luna moth caterpillars grow rapidly as they feed on tree leaves.
3. Garden pests like the tomato hornworms pupate underground, then emerge as sphinx moths.
4.The Monarch butterflies fly south and winter in Mexico and California, and the Caribbean. After hatching from an egg, a monarch caterpillar eats milkweed, which renders it toxic to animals that would eat it. A clear chrysalis protects the monarch pupa has it hangs from a stem or branch.
5. The tiger swallowtail butterflies are American favorites for gardens.
Deception is intended by the tiger swallowtail caterpillars fake head.
Their pupae are held in a head-up position by strands of silk.
6. The Baltimore butterfly pupa is bright white with colored spots.
Do you know of any little tidbits about different moths or butterflies?
Please share them here and we will keep the list growing.
7. Blossoms furnish butterflies with liquid nourishment in the form of nectar. The winged adult takes nourishment through a very specialized mouth part known as a proboscis which can be thought of as a very fancy soda straw which uncoils and probes for nectar in the blossoms.
8. There are over 160 species of colorful butterflies and skippers in Florida.
If you become a butterfly watcher or seeker of them for pets, the more you watch them the more sensitized to butterflies and moths you will be. And you will be amazed at how many you will begin to see. Find butterflies in areas of wildflowers and home flower gardens.
Share what butterflies you have seen and captured here.
03-27-2013, 01:11 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-27-2013, 01:13 PM by 4sweed.)
9. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), butterflies are usually found along sunny fence rows or on cool forest roads and looking for nectar on lantana bushes or other wild flowers. The beautiful yellow butterflies visit pink and lavender azaleas and wild orange trumpet flowers. Often the adult males crowd around mud holes and sip water, in rare circular social gatherings.
10. The larvae or caterpillars of this species are a beautiful light green and bear a pair of large delicately hued eyepots near the front, bordered by a pair of black and yellow stripes. They are found feedng on willows (Salix) and the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron) and magnolia and maple leaves.
In Britain the Buddleia bush is often known as the "butterfly bush" because butterflies love to feed on its nectar when the Buddleia is in flower. I have seen these flowers covered in butterflies such as the Red Admiral, the Painted Lady, the Comma and other common British species.
There is a big butterfly house located in a park close to where I live, so I can go there to see some of the bigger and more exotic species from different countries.
03-28-2013, 11:51 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-28-2013, 11:51 AM by 4sweed.)
11.The Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), larvae feed on poisonous Aristolochia pipevines and the adult butterflies are distasteful to predators. It is said that the dark female of the Tiger Swallowtail, minics the Pipevine Swallowtail throughout it's range and thereby is avoided by birds who confuse it with the philenor type.
12. Another minic of the Pipevine, is the Spicebush Swallowtail, (Papilio troilus), which is found in flower-covered fields. The females seek the spicebush (Benzoin), to lay their eggs. They also seek the prickly ash, (Xanthoxylum), Sassafras, and Sweet Bay (Magnolia glauca), in shady wooded areas.
The Florida subspecies of this swallowtail, named ilioneus, is a larger and brighter colored insect than those found in northern populations.
13. Another minic, the Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes), is found in swampy forest areas and along stream banks. It's green caterpillars are often found on the spicebush as well.
14. Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), is found in open fields and along roadsides, moving from thistle to thistle, in a bobing fashion. The larvae is richly striped with bands of black and yellow or orange dots on these stripes. The caterpillars can often be found on parsley and carrot plants, in the garden. They also like Ruta graveolens in the herb family.
15. One of the most beautiful butterflies is the long-tailed, black and white Zebra Swallowtail (Graphium marcellus). It is found along rivers and trails.The pea-green caterpillar has narrow black and yellow crossbands which help it to hide easily on it's sole host plant, the Pawpaw tree, (genus Asimina).
03-29-2013, 11:25 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-29-2013, 11:36 AM by 4sweed.)
16. Another group of butterflies are the Whites and Sulfurs of the Pieridae family. The large (Phoebis) sulphurs and the varieties of smaller (Eurema) sulphur species. these butterflies are yellow or orange colors, with males having crisp black margins. All of these larvae, and velvety green caterpillars feed on the Cassia plants along roadsides and in fields.
!7. The Giant Yellow Sulphurs (Phoebis eubule sennae) in September and October, migrate from northern Florida, into Southern Florida, to survive the winter months.
18. The tiny Hermes Satyr, (Euptychlia hermes), are found everywhere in Florida, as in many areas in the eastern seaboard forests of the U.S., and also in Central and South America, in tropical rain forests and mountain habitats. It seems that the adults are able to winter over and reproduce again in the spring. The majority have to spend the winter months in the egg or pupal stages of their lifecycle, in order to survive.
19. Giant Skippers, (Megathymidae), are part of the above species, the larvae burrows into the stems and roots of the Yucca or Agave plants during the summer and stay till the following spring.
If you want to keep butterflies as pets, then you need to know the areas to look for the caterpillars or butterflies in order to collect them. And in caring for them it works best if you can provide their native natural food sources.
If you are planting a natural butterfly garden some favorites of these beautiful winged creatures are goldenrod and ragwort, fleabane and thistle, Joe-Pye Weed and ironweed, asters and blazing star, palafoxia and pennyroyals, Spanish Needle or Beggers Tick, which is a very noxious weed but it does attact many butterflies. Also milkweed or Butterfly Bush, which attacts the Monarch butterfly.
04-01-2013, 09:58 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-01-2013, 10:17 AM by 4sweed.)
20. Entomologists say that one of the most regal insects begin their annual migration from eastern United States and Canada, to Mexico every year from late August to early October. This insect is the Monarch butterfly. They say that these butterflies follow the same migratory path every year, often stopping to rest and recuperate at day's end in the same locations or same tree year after year.
21. The main reason they migrate northward in the spring is to eat the abundant milkweed in the eastern United States, then in fall they return south because the winters are to cold to survive and the milkweed plants die off in the winter. Another important reason they eat milkweed is that it contains toxins poisonous to birds, their biggest predator. The poison in one single Monarch, can kill off 8 birds, but the taste makes the birds sick and so the birds quickly learn to eat another type of butterfly.
22. In Mexico, they say you can see lots of Monarchs with beak marks on their wings where birds have tasted them and then let them go.
23. After their long flight, the Monarch butterflies usually remain inactive from November to February, in their high-altitude wintering site about 50 miles west of Mexico City. In February and March, the Monarchs fly down to lower elevations and feed and then mate. Then they travel into Texas, where they lay eggs and continue their journey. The Monarch's that develop from these eggs instinctively continue the migration.
24. Monarchs have many wintering sites. Some migrate to northern California, and then on to Oregon, and Washington state, and into western Canada, before returning to Mexico. Others mirgrate to Florida and Arizona. There is one Cuban colony that flies over the ocean to winter in the jungles of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It is said that those that get to see migrating Monarchs, see 200-400 insects on the branch of a tree. But Monarches who are very social insects, when they reach Mexico to winter over, will cover trees with amounts of butterflies in the millions in about 8 different mountainous regions.
25. It is amazing to me that these butterflies can travel the same route every spring, making the journey from Mexico and all the way back to the eastern United States and central Canada, without losing their way, every year.
34. This beautiful green butterfly is found in the southern Florida and the Florida Keys, as well as, in Brazil and Central America, Mexico and in the West Indies. It is called the Malachite butterfly, (Siproeta steines). It is pronounced (MAL-a-kite), and is easily recongnized by its large black wings that are splashed with a brilliant green color.
The vibrant green color, is what makes this butterfly stand out as it is very beautiful. The habitat of this butterfly is along the edges of weedy fields and wooded areas. This butterfly flies in a slow floating motion, but can move faster when disturbed. It has a wingspan of 3-4 inches when full grown.
35. The Malachite butterfly female lays small, dark-green eggs one at a time on the newest leaves of host plants. The young caterpillars eat and rest on the leaves from underneath. The caterpillars become a rich, velvety black with red bristles and spined horns on their heads. If disturbed the caterpillars spit a green fluid. The spines of the older larvae can cause a rash on human skin when touched.
36. The food sources of the Malachite caterpillar are the belchum (shimp plant), and the ruellia (wild petunia), and plantago. The adult butterflies enjoy rotten fruit and sometimes even eat bird droppings. The Malachite also eats nectar from the flowers of some trees. They can eat all day long and fly to flowers up to 38 feet high above the ground.
I don't have anything to add to the fact of moths or butterflies but wow learning a lot from here! I had no idea there were so many different kinds of butterflies and where they came from,I enjoy learning about these types of things and glad you all could share with us. If I find something interesting that isn't posted here I will be happy to add to it and give more of an insight to others,I think this summer I will be looking out for more of these wonderful little creatures to see if I can identify them.
I found the posts really educational. I don't think I'll ever keep moths and butterflies as pets or would like to see them in an enclosure of some sort (moths and butterflies should be free).
It is really fascinating to read about them and I've been fascinated by how they change forms so drastically when they grow into butterflies inside their cocoons and chrysalises. Very informative!