Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Caterpillar Update and More.....

The Monarch Butterfly caterpillar that I have been tracking on this blog since it hatched two weeks ago is doing well and this morning was at the top of it's container in a "pre-J" pose.  I didn't have my camera with me but, trust me, it is right on schedule to make the flight and spend the winter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.

Sunday morning as I was making my rounds of the Fox Island milkweed I noticed an unusual number of dragonflies and small butterflies taking advantage of the sporadic sunshine and calm winds.  As I stood and enjoyed the activity I realized that there are many butterflies that I have ignored as I focus on raising Monarchs.
One of the most common butterflies in the state of Indiana is this male Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos tharos). This little butterfly has a wing span of about 1 1/4" (30 MM) and gets it's name from the small crescent  pattern on the lower edge of the hind wing.  The host plant of the Pearl Crescent caterpillar is the aster.
The most plentiful blue butterfly in Indiana is the Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly (Cupido comyntas comyntas). This male can be distinguished by the orange spot just above the little tail on the hind wing.  This little butterfly is about the size of a twenty-five cent piece.  The host plant of the caterpillar is the tick-trefoil (beggars tick).

For anyone looking for a good field guide on Indiana Butterflies I suggest Butterflies Of Indiana by Jeffrey Beleth and published by Indiana University Press.  It contains many detailed photographs of the butterflies, a section on hoist plants, photography and much more.