Archive for November 25th, 2009

A Plague of Butterflies

amywink November 25th, 2009

The rain has brought hordes of butterflies to the pastures and my own backyard in Austin. Walking through the fields, swarms of small butterflies rise from the grasses, looking like tiny fall leaves on the wind. This is good for Will because the one thing he shies at most has been the stray butterfly coming at him from the woods. I understand how the bright-winged erratic movement of the butterfly catching the sun could look like danger out of the darkness. Since he’s been out with them, however, he’s decided they are nothing to be wary of, these little bright leaves floating up from the grasses.

In Austin, the blooming loquat tree in our backyard has provided a feast for numerous butterflies. While we have considered removing the tree, we now plan to keep it for the butterflies. After some research, I found that our current plague consists of Queen Butterflies (Danaus Gilipus) of the Milkweed Butterflies family (Danaidae) and the Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) of the Brushfoot (Nymphalidae) family, and all manner of smaller Skipper butterflies–which also seem the likely suspects for Will’s pastures. This wonderful Butterflies of North America website helped me identify the Queens and Admirals in our backyard which appear to be happy sharing the Thanksgiving feast together.

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