When I stepped out the door of the office I was greeted by the fluttering of wings. The patch of Indian Hemp was full of butterflies. In fact there was several varieties. I saw little wood nymphs, painted ladies, yellow and black Swallowtail butterflies as well as small blues. I’ll be posting pictures of some of them later but tonight it’s the Great Spangled Fritillary.
Butterflies and moths are host specific. They require certain plants to complete their lifecycles. For the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly the host plants are native violets. Which means that if you want this type of butterfly then you’ll want to encourage native violets for the catipiller. During the summer months the female Fritillary lays her eggs on the violets but after they hatch they remain dormant until Spring. Only then will they begin to feed on the violet leaves. The catipiller will molt six times before it gets it’s wings! And what beautiful wings they’re going to be! I’m not really certain but I believe that the feature image shows a male. In researching the article I learned that the females are more brown than the male. Either way it’s a beautiful species.
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