Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What a Critter-filled day in the Garden!

As usual, I headed out in the yard with the dogs this morning and checked the citrus trees for Giant Swallowtail Larvae.  I was greeted with a caterpillar who was beginning the Pupae stage.  I noted his location and continued to look around to see what I could see.  I saw a Giant Swallowtail bobbing a weaving by the citrus.....hopefully laying more eggs.  I headed to grab the camera when I saw a long-tailed skipper which is an illusive butterfly to catch on film (ok....sd card).  When I looked around the bottlebrush, I saw a Green Lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) sitting atop her nest.  I captured a photo of the swallowtail chrysalis and then was rewarded with patience because the butterfly came right in my area and alit on some native blackberry (Rubus).  I also captured a stink bug (Podisus) on native Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata).  Completing my morning trek was a Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata).  The spider is pictured.  Photos of others can be seen at http://twitpic.com/photos/PineLilyFNPS

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It takes a caterpillar to make a butterfly II

I decided to prove my point when a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar made it very easy for me to observe metamorphosis.  I caught him hanging down early one morning and realized he was about to become a chrystalis.  I photographed him in the afternoon....how fast they transform!  TODAY was emerging day and I was lucky enough to, once again, capture it on film (ok, an sd card).  I am amazed that this large butterfly came out of that tiny chrystalis.  Nature never ceases to amaze me. He fluttered a time or two, but wasn't ready to fly away.....by noon, however he (she??) was gone, hopefully to lay eggs and start the process over again.  Think twice before you complain about something chewing on your plants.....it might be a rewarding experience!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It takes a caterpillar to make a butterfly

Gulf Fritillary Butterflies have been prolific in my garden recently.  I saw 1 or 2 after I planted the first Passiflora incarnata (aka Purple passionflower, Maypop).  Today I saw 4 or 5 flying close by and 2 of the vines are alive with caterpillers. I don't understand why some gardeners don't want their plants eaten.  Don't they realize that you wouldn't have the beauty of the butterfly if you didn't have a caterpillar eating away at some point?
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