lately i've been a bit captivated with my observances of butterflies. we have several varieties of them frequenting our yard so fortunately for me i find simple pleasure in watching them. i see them flitting and floating about from flower to flower. only, until recently, i've not bothered to figure out the names of these visiting beauties. now i am fascinated to learn which ones i am seeing. they seem especially attracted to the pentas, the plumbago and just about any flowering plant.
i don't think i have ever seen a Long-tailed Skipper - Urbanus proteusone until today. i was doing some hand watering and out of nowhere it landed right in front of me on a marble leaf plant. i had to look up its name but i am so excited my (need i say, less than great) camera actually captured it.
Some of the other butterflies i have seen frolicking about in my yard and neighborhood i don't have my own photos but you can click on the link to view them. I had to rescue a Gulf Fritillary - Agraulis vanillae- out from the pool cage this weekend--sometimes they come in when i have the door propped open doing my container watering. several of the all yellow species-i can't quite identify--maybe Little Yellow - Eurema lisa --i'm not sure. and of course we see more than our fair share of swallowtails.
Thanks to a fellow-blogger, i have been lifted another notch out of butterfly ignorance. I now know why a beautiful giant swallowtail Papilio cresphontes would be positioned on the street like this one I spotted on my morning jog. who would have thought? these lovely, graceful creatures which (until recently) i truly only noticed hanging around other beautiful creations like flowers --actually have quite --shall we say-- a 'variety' for their diet.
i didn't have my camera so i thought i would miss the opportunity to snap this swallowtail's photo. i guess this butterfly didn't have its fill. i had time to get home and back down the road and even after i had snapped- it stayed to finish its morning find. there was something smashed and dead on the road.
i did some research since my curiosity was peaked and here is an excerpt from what i found:
While flower nectar forms the bulk of most butterflies' diets, these insects actively pursue many other kinds of food (some species do not utilize nectar at all). In addition to finding the sugars, salts, nitrogen, and amino acids they need to survive, they must also consume certain chemicals used for making sex attractants. Tree sap, wet soil, flower pollen, and dead plants are part of the motley assortment of foods commonly sought by butterflies, but the full list is far longer. Butterflies are supreme opportunists, and their expanded menu may also include rotting fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, as well as carrion, owl pellets, mammal dung, urine, bird droppings, slug slime, tears, sweat, and other animal secretions. These items do not readily come to mind when we think of colorful, frolicking butterflies, yet they are common alternatives to flower nectar.
well i find it fascinating. it makes me even more aware of how God thought of every detail when He created the cycles of life and how the food chain takes care of the delicate balance of nature.