Painted Lady Butterfly – Arizona

The Flutter Files
Name: Painted Lady Butterfly
Species: Vanessa cardui
Native to: Found on most continents (except Australia and Antarctica) in many climates.
Date Seen: November 2016, October 2016
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Notes: An irruptive migrant – migrates independent of any seasonal or geographic patterns.

Empress Leilia Butterfly

The Flutter Files
Name: Empress Leilia Butterfly
Species: Asterocampa leilia
Native to: Central and southern Arizona (except for the southwest) as well as south Texas, Mexico and Baja
Date Seen: March 2014
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Notes: Wing Span: 1 1/2 – 3 inches (3.8 – 7.6 cm). This butterfly was sitting on Lantana flowers. Apparently they do not normally feed on nectar, though. Either the butterfly wasn’t feeding, or it is a butterfly that isn’t what I think it is!

Giant Water Bug

Alberta

Bug Bits
Name: Giant Water Bug
Species: Lethocerus americanus
Native to: These bugs can be found in southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.
Date Seen: September 2018
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: 46 to 52 mm (1.8 to 2 in) long. Lives in ponds, marshes and slow moving waterways. Handle with care because they can inflict a painful bite. They are attracted to light and can be found flying under lamp posts and porch lights.

Spiny Rose Leaf Gall

Alberta

Bug Bits
Common Name: Spiny Rose Leaf Gall
Scientific Name: Diplolepis polita
Native to: Possibly throughout Canada and the United States
Date Seen: May 2012
Location: South of Cluny, Alberta
Notes: These galls were found on Wild Roses. A gall wasp induces a chemical reaction in rose stems or leaves. This creates a case, or gall, that protects the wasp’s larvae.

Cabbage White Butterfly

In a past post, White Butterflies Hiding in a Hay Field, I wasn’t able to actually get a photo of the White Butterflies. They never came to rest long enough, or if they did stop, it was on the low growing flowers that I couldn’t see! Later, the butterflies were feeding on some flowers that were easily visible, so I finally got to capture their image. They are very skittish butterflies, however, and I had to stand well back and use a zoom lens.

They are Cabbage White Butterflies. They are described as being white butterflies with dark dots on their upper wings. Their underwings can be various shades of yellow.

This cabbage white is showing its age. Note how weathered and ragged the wings are getting!

Alberta Canada

The Cabbage butterfly was introduced to Quebec, Canada, from Europe in the 1860’s and has since spread throughout the continent.

Alberta Canada

While they are a delight to watch, especially if there are a lot of them fluttering through your yard, their caterpillars are the bane of gardeners – they eat members of the mustard family and this includes cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprout and cauliflower.

Alberta Canada

The Flutter Files
Common Name: Small Cabbage White Butterfly
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Native to: It was originally only in Europe. It was accidentally introduced into China (in 1989), North America (in 1860), Australia (in 1937) and New Zealand (in 1930)
Date Seen:  September 2011, August and September, 2017
Location: North East of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: These butterflies have a dark body with white wings. The upper wings have a charcoal to black band at the tip and a dark spot in the center of each upper wing. Males have one spot on each wing and females have two. Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Weathered.

Fritillary Butterflies and Violas

Bridging the Knowledge Gap:

I was weeding and deadheading a few days ago, and was surprised to find my viola/pansy crop consisted of mostly bare stalks. Odd. When I looked closer, I could see that the few remaining leaves were well chewed.

I didn’t give the sorry state of the Viola family much more thought.

Yesterday I was patrolling the yard with my camera, looking for birds, blooms and bugs. I ‘caught’ the House Wren feeding it’s young, a blue dragonfly, various flowers and seeds, and a spotted orange butterfly.

Alberta, Canada

The Butterfly was a new find for me, (or so I thought). I looked it up on the Internet, and decided it was a Fritillary Butterfly.

Determining which Fritillary (Atlantis, Callippe, Edward’s, Great Spangled, Meadow or Mormon) was too fine a distinction for my ID skills! The important piece of information, though, is that the Fritillary Caterpillar eats members of the Violet family. That probably explains the decimation of my Viola and Pansy plants.

Alberta, Canada I also learned that the top and bottom of butterfly wings will have different patterns. The underside (bottom) of the Fritillary Butterfly wing is what I had photographed and been looking for on the internet.

The top of the wings is a bit different. I went to my photo files of Butterflies, and realized that I had already photographed a Fritillary Butterfly, but had only seen the top of it’s wings.

My two butterfly ‘finds’ were actually members of the same family. Another Knowledge Gap bridged!

The interesting thing is, in normal circumstances, I would not have photographed the chewed up Violas.Their role in the life cycle of the Fritillary Butterfly would have been lost to me. A small, but important piece of information bridged that gap, and that made all the difference.

The Flutter Files
Species: Argynninae
Name: Greater Fritillary Butterfly
Date Seen: July 7, 2017 and August 8, 2016
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta

What big connections have you made when you found a small, but important ‘bridge’ piece of information?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Bridge.

Bark Scorpion – In my Closet in Arizona

Bark Scorpions are usually 2 – 3 inches long, are nocturnal, and eat crickets, roaches and other insects. Scorpions hibernate in the winter.

This one was lurking in my broom closet, and unfortunately met an untimely ‘death by swiffer sweeper’. Scorpions glow in the dark if you shine a Black UV light on them, as you can see in this photo. Most local hardware stories around here carry Black light flashlights. We, of course, have one. It has good entertainment value for visitors. I  don’t go around  shining the flashlight in dark closets – live and let live. Except when I find one inside the house, and it doesn’t hide fast enough.

Bug Bits
Common Name: Arizona Bark Scorpion
Scientific Name: Centruroides sculpturatus
Native to: Baja California del Norte, northern Sonora, southeastern California, southeastern Utah, Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.
Date Seen: April 24, 2017
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona

Monarch Butterfly Collage

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I made this Monarch Butterfly Collage with 5 photos. The first, and background layer, was a photo of painted daisies. I gave it a textured filter.

The remaining four photos were close-ups of a single Monarch Butterfly. I put those photos into 4 layers, gave each of them a border, and positioned them on top of the background photo.

Layers, in GIMP or any other photo editing program, are like a stack of transparencies. There are many ways to alter each layer, without affecting any of the other layers!

See more blogger’s photos at WordPress Photo Challenge – Collage

Monarch Butterfly – a Magic Migration

We’ve had Monarch butterflies in our Arizona yard recently. They may be migrating south to Mexico, north-west to California or they may overwinter here if the conditions are favourable.

67-monarch2

The Monarch’s Southern fall migration is made by a single butterfly that will live for 6 to 8 months. The Northern spring migration will take multiple generations of butterflies. These butterflies live only 2 to 6 weeks – a lot of their energy goes into producing the next generation of butterflies and migrating north.

Scientists believe that the Monarch butterflies navigate by using an internal Sun compass. They use the time of day and the sun’s position on the horizon to find their way.

I think that is wonderfully magical, because I sometimes have trouble navigating out of the parking lot of the big mall…

The Flutter Files
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Common Name: Monarch Butterfly
Migration: In Summer from as far north as Southern Canada to wintering grounds in Southern California or Mexico.
Date Seen: November 14, 2016
Location: Central Arizona

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Magic.