Saturday, September 3, 2011

Butterflies are just Fluttering Flowers

 There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you its a butterfly
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary-Arkansas state butterfly
The last days of August have been inundated by butterflies of every color, shape and size, these amazing creatures never cease to totally enthrall me and I can spend hours in the garden following them as they flutter from flower to flower in the attempt to capture even one in my camera. Last week I was watering the flower beds in front of the Magnolia Hill Bed and Breakfast when I came upon 10-15 butterflies of many colors on my Lantana-it instantly brought a smile to my face and happiness in my spirit and I happily clicked away. Lantana is one perennial (in warm climates) which seems to attract not only butterflies but hummingbirds and the elusive hummingbird moth.

Black Swalowtail

They have six legs and feet

Butterflies - and moths - belong to the order Leptidoptera.
This is derived from the Greek term for 'scale-wing'.
There are about 28,000 known Butterfly species throughout the world The wings of Butterflies are actually transparent the vivid colors are due the overlapping bright scales. 
 Butterflies are abundant only when the environment and the flora allows it. Many plants will entice many species of butterflies, they prefer open flowers and several so called "weeds" are their favorite snacks. Some butterfly species lay their eggs on milkweed which you probably pull, you can also plant: Lantana, Petunias, Cone flowers, Zenia's, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush and so many more.  An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 species of moths occur in Arkansas . Like most insects, butterflies and moths survive Arkansas winters in a dormant state known as diapause.  Arkansas is the only state to designate the Diana fritillary as its state butterfly, pairing it only with its state insect the honeybee.
The encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
  Summer is nearly over, they are the highlight of the marvelous gifts that nature gives us-go explore, watch,  take your kids, grandkids to the parks or your back yard.  They will remember always that a butterfly is something incredible to behold.

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