While our garden is still in the planning stages, our hope is that one day we will attract some of the butterflies that are commonly seen in PA. In this and future posts we will learn a bit more about them.
The Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele prefers violet leaves as a food source in the caterpillar (larval) stage. The larvae do not feed when they hatch, overwintering until spring when they begin eating. As adults they get nectar from a variety of plants including milkweeds, joe-pye weed and purple coneflower. This is a large butterfly with a 2.5″ to 4″ wing span. Their habitat is in open, moist areas like fields, meadows and open woodlands.
Images below of the Meadow Fritillary are the property of Randy L. Emmitt and are not to be used without his permission. http://www.rlephoto.com/species_list.htm
The Meadow Fritillary, Boloria bellona is a medium sized butterfly with wings of 1.3″ to 2″. The males and the females are identical with black dashes and dots on a tan or orangish-brown background. The females lay their eggs on twigs or plants other than their host plant, the violet. In their larval stage they feed on violet leaves. As adults they find nectar in the black eyed susan, dandelion, and ox-eyed daisy. They are attracted to gardens that are near wet meadows.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus is large with a wing span of 3.6″ to 6.5″. The male has a tiger-like striped appearance while the female is darker so the striping is less evident. Their habitat can be the borders of woodlands, fields and gardens. They have a variety of hosts from wild cherry, sweet bay, tulip trees, birches and the ash tree. They gather their nectar from wild cherry and lilac bushes although come summer milkweeds and joe-pye weed is the favorite.
The Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio troilusgets its name from one of its host plants, the spicebush, Lindera benzoin, s common woodland shrub. They also use the sassafras as a host. The wing span is 3.6″ to 4.5″. Like the eastern tiger swallowtail, its habitat is along the edges of woodlands, forests and in gardens. The female’s scales on the upper surface of the hindwing are bluish while the males are more green. For nectar they seek out the milkweed and jewelweed. The female lays single eggs on the underside of host plant leaves. The larvae feed at night, hiding during the day among the leaves.
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