|Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)|
|Checkered White (Pontia protodice)|
The upper side of the wings are white and marked with black and gray, more so on the female. The underside of the hindwings are marked with extensive yellow-brown veins. The wingspan is 1.25-1.75 inches. Its host plants include broccoli brussel sprouts and cabbage.
|Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)|
Their wingspan is 2 5/8 - 3 7/8 inches. To find females, males patrol all day. Females lay eggs singly on leaves, stems, and flower buds, which the caterpillars eat. Adults roost communally.
Larval host plants are milkweeds and milkweed vines. Adults nectar from flowers including milkweeds, fogfruit, and shepherd's needle.
Some of the milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators. After tasting a Queen, a predator might associate the bright warning colors of the adult or caterpillar with an unpleasant meal, and avoid Queens in the future.
A single Ocola skipper (Panoquina ocola) of the Hesperiidae family was also seen. This butterfly has forewings projecting far beyond the hindwings when the butterfly is at rest. The upperside of their wings is dark brown; the underside of the hindwing is brown with no markings; the female has a blue-purple iridescent sheen. Adults nectar from lantana, spanish needle, milkweed, and buttonbush.
January 28, 2013 was a great day for butterfly monitoring. We saw Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) of the Pieridae family - 7 in transect A and 11 in transect B; one Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) of the Nymphalidae family, and also in transect A the elusive Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) of the Nymphalidae family.
The upper side of the Red Admiral is black with white spots near the apex; forewing with red median band, hindwing with red marginal band. The winter form is smaller and duller, summer form larger and brighter with an interrupted forewing band.
|Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)|
Larval host plants of the nettle family (Urticaceae) including stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
Adults nectar on sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit, bird droppings, common milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa.
One White M hairstreak (Parhassius m-album) of the Lycaenidae family was also seen.
|White M hairstreak |
The M-shaped lines on the underside hind wing lead towards a focal point of "false eye" - the red and blue spots and the "false antennae" - short wing tails with white tips. The hairstreak turns around when it lands to fool the predator about the whereabouts of its vital organs. Hence, frequently one can find individuals missing parts of the wings where the eyespot and tails were located: these individuals escape attack by predators, such as birds.
|Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)|
Also counted in transect A were four Long tailed skippers (Urbanus proteus) of the Hesperiidae family, 23 Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia) of the Nymphalidae family, eight Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae) of the Pieridae family, and 35 Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon) of the Nymphalidae family. Great numbers for a winter monitoring expedition!
February 18, 2013 was a very cold day, but we were still able to observe our year-round butterflies in transect A: three Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia) of the Nymphalidae family and 26 Phaon Crescents (Phyciodes phaon) of the Nymphalidae family.
|Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)|
In transect D, the Red bay transect, where many red bay saplings are still surviving, we spotted one Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes) of the Papilionidae family, and we did see two others of that species along the trails between our transects, however we don't count those, as we must follow the protocol of the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network.
Our next expedition will be March 18, 2013.