August 5th – Butterflies in the garden.

This morning I had the chance to visit the garden with my cousin Lee from Bucks County. I have been talking up the Bournelyf Butterfly Garden to family and friends and it was fun to share it today. Here are some of the things that we saw on our visit.

First Monarch (Danaus plexippus) sighting on Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)! Photo by Ron Lidondici

Monarch Chrysalis

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo by Ron Lidondici

We have never seen the larva or caterpillar of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (ETS) in our garden but we have seen it frequently in its butterfly form. The ETS goes through five  stages or instars before it is ready to pupate. It molts or sheds its skin to accommodate its growing size between instars. Before it molts it forms a new skin under the old. The coloring of the ETS larva changes between its developmental stages as well. A pupa is the life stage in a butterfly’s metamorphosis that occurs between the larval and the adult stage. The caterpillar forms a chrysalis to protect it during this stage.

Forth Instar

Fifth instar of the Eastern Swallowtail, shortly before pupating.

I think this is a dark form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Photo by Ron Lidondici

Chrysalis of the ETS

While the Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) was too quick to photograph this is what it looked like.

Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

This is one of the larger skippers and its body is thicker than most butterflies but is active during the day as butterflies are. Its antennae are hooked. The larvae are up to two inches long with a brownish-red head with two orange spots and a yellow green body.

Chrysallis of Silver-Spotted Skipper Photo by Brenda Dziedzic

Larva of Silver-spotted Skipper (Photo from Purdue Cooperative Extension)

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About chestercoextbutterfly

I am an apprentice Master Gardener with the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) Cooperative Extension Program. My local office is in Chester County. As part of my volunteer activity I am working with a team to develop a Butterfly Garden on the grounds of the  Church of the Loving Shepherd.  We will be using the creation of this garden as an educational program for some of the participants in the Bournelyf Special Camp which, is held every summer. Members of the congregation of the church will be involved as well as in the ongoing maintenance of the garden.The purpose of this blog is to document the project as it develops.
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