As I stood on the edge of yard outside of the office building the butterflies continued to playfully feed on the bloom of the Indian Hemp. Across my my right shoulder one of more colorful ones fluttered by to land on the small white flowers. When it landed it folded it’s wings to show the silvery patterns on underside of the rear set. It was a painted lady.
These small colorful butterflies are found in both the old and new world. In the old world they migrate between Europe and Africa. The experts seem to debate on which populations actually cross the ocean but at least some do.
Back in North America the painted ladies stay mostly in the United States and Southern Canada with one population mapped in Mexico.
It’s been observed by some scientists that the population seems to boom during periods of heavy rain. I’m guessing that might have something to do with the rain and warm weather causing the plants to have growth spurts which means more flowers and thus more food for the butterflies.
Last night I mentioned that the Great Spangled Fritillary was host specific to violets and laid it’s eggs where there would be violets for the catipiller to feed on but Painted Ladies are not as choosey. They host on over one hundred species of plants.
The males, ( still called painted ladies) are territorial and will actually have aerial duels with rivals. They pick a roost and return to it after fight.
The last little bit of trivia for tonight’s post is that painted ladies see in the ultraviolet ranges but probably cannot tell the difference between red and green. Which incidentally is something that they have in common with honeybees.
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