Wilderness Underfoot: Common butterflies of our region, Part 2

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11859242301074.jpg’, ”, ‘Checkered white – Pontia protodice is most abundant in the western U.S., but is found throughout the country. Adults feed on the nectar of purple coneflower, mustards and alfalfa. Caterpillars feed on plants in the mustard family and caper family, and they’re pests on cabbage, broccoli, and other cole crops. The wingspan of the checkered white is about 2.5 inches. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118592425811695.jpg’, ”, ‘Clouded Sulphur – Colias philodice is one of many species of sulphurs — yellow butterflies occurring across the U.S. Adults feed on the nectar of many different flowers. Caterpillars feed on clover, alfalfa and plants in the pea family. The wingspan of the clouded sulphur is about 2 inches across. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118592430631559.jpg’, ”, ‘Eastern tiger swallowtail – Papilio glaucus is one of the most attractive butterflies of our region. It is relatively abundant in the eastern U.S., and like the eastern tailed blue butterfly, it can often be found “puddling” on wet soils. Adults feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of wild cherry, tulip tree, sweet bay, ash, cottonwood, birch and willow. This is a large butterfly, with wingspans reaching 5.5 inches across.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118592434511474.jpg’, ”, ‘Eastern tailed blue – Cupido comyntas is abundant throughout the eastern United States. Blues can often be seen gathering on wet soil and around puddles (a behavior known as “puddling”), where they pick up moisture and minerals. These butterflies fly lower than most others, traveling within a few feet of the ground. They tend to visit low-lying flowers such as asters and clovers, feeding on the nectar. Caterpillars favor plants in the pea family, including vetch and various kinds of clover. The blue color (which is often deeper on early season specimens) and small size make this butterfly easy to identify. The wingspan of the eastern tailed blue is only about 1 inch across.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11859243906477.jpg’, ”, ‘Pearl crescent – Phyciodes tharos is a small- to medium-sized butterfly with a large attitude. Males are aggressive and will sometimes dart after larger butterflies, other insects, or even birds to defend their territory. Adults feed on the nectar of flowers such as asters, swamp milkweed and thistles. Caterpillars feed on plants in the aster family. The wingspan of the pearl crescent is about 1.5 inches across.‘);

If you spend any time outdoors, you’re likely to come upon these common butterfly species.

from the Aug 1-7, 2007, issue

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