Master Naturalists: Look for butterflies visiting your area this week
By Paul and Mary Meredith
Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:22 a.m.
About 9-11 a.m. each day, we've been seeing several different kinds of butterflies visiting the blooms in areas of our yard where we water.
We currently have in bloom Caesalpinia (pride of arbados), passion vine, several varieties of Salvia, esperanza (yellow bells), (white, ever-blooming) orchid trees, mistflower and frog fruit.
All those plants are rather drought-resistant, so they bloom with what little watering we do. The smaller butterflies drink nectar from the smaller blooms. The larger butterflies get their nectar from the larger blooms.
Our current butterflies (and their sizes and coloring) are the following:
Hackberry emperor, 1.5-2.5 inches, brown, black eye spots;
Giant swallowtail, 3.5-5.5 inches, black, yellow bars on top wings;
Pipevine swallowtail, 2.5-4.5 inches, black, bright blue lower wings, underwing speckles of red;
Pearl crescent, 1-1.75 inches, orange and black speckles and edges;
Monarch, 3-4.75 inches, orange with black veining;
Cloudless sulphur, 2-3 inches, yellow;
Southern dogface, 1.75-2.5 inches, yellow;
Gulf fritillary, 2.5-3.75 inches, orange-silver spots when wings are closed.
Don't have butterflies where you are? Go out to the Victoria Educational Gardens near the tower at the airport. You and your kids can see lots there. Go before 11 a.m.
Paul and Mary Meredith are master naturalists. Contact them at email@example.com.