Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Brushfoots

One of the best represented butterfly families in my garden at this time of year are the Brush-footed butterflies. They are easily identified by their shorter forelegs which are frequently hairy and look like brushes.


This American Lady blends in very nicely amongst the mulch. Had she not moved when I walked by I would have missed her all together.


When she opened her wings to bask in the morning sun the light shone through her wings glowing a beautiful orange .


The ladies are common across all of North America. To attract these try plants in the aster family. The caterpillars eat thistles and cudweeds which are in abundance in the empty lots surrounding my house.

Another group of the Brushfoot family are the Fritillaries. They are large, orange butterflies with brightly silvered or white spots on their underwings.


The Gulf Fritillary lay their eggs on native passion vines and maypops.


I found this Great Spangled Fritillary basking on my shrubbery before it took off to drink nectar at the nearby Buddleia bush. Caterpillars feed on violets of which I have many growing wild in my woodland garden.




The Admirals are another member of the Brushfoots. The one most common in my garden is the Red-spotted Purple.


With its brilliant blue and red spots it is often confused with the Pipevine Swallowtail but doesn't have the tails like the swallowtail. The Red-spotted purple host plants include wild cherry, poplars, and hawthorns.


Unlike most butterflies that feed on nectar, they feed mostly on decaying organic matter, rotting fruit and moisture from damp sand. They often find their food source in my compost bin but another method is to provide over ripe fruit in a suet feeder.


The Crescents are small versions of fritillaries. Their host plant is the aster and are most often seen on milkweeds, black-eyed susans, asters and coreopsis. However, I caught this one on my lantana.



Just an friendly reminder that butterflies are dependent upon plants to provide nourishment for their young and nectar from flowers for their adult food. Many butterflies are dependent upon a few specific plants for their survival and some of these plants are dependent upon unique habitats for their survival. Therefore, habitat conservation is needed. Butterfly gardening is one way to help and enjoy the benefits of seeing these gorgeous creatures up close in your garden.

I am linking up today for Macro Monday. Take a look at all the amazing macros taken by fellow bloggers. Happy Monday y'all!

21 comments:

  1. I can't believe all the Butterflies you get. I am so envious. That first one looks like it has eyeballs on it's wings.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  2. I just love your blog! You provide one outstanding and informative post (full of great pics too) after another! Glad I found ya!

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  3. Awesome collection of photo's butterflies you have here...all are beauties!!

    Grace

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  4. Beautiful butterflies! Hoping to see more in my garden before the season ends.

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  5. Gorgeous butterfly shots! And what a coincidence. I have 2 posts with butterflies today; Onenezz and Tropical Nature Photos. Many other blogger friends posted on butterflies today too.

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  6. Beautiful butterflies. I have not seen that many butterflies around this year.

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  7. Oh...what a wonderful display of these amazing creatures! I have seen many of these in my garden, however I don't recall seeing the Red-spotted Purple. I will have to watch for them near the compost pile.

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  8. Karin you have some of the most amazing and comprehensive collections of butterfly photos. I am just getting into these lovely critters more and love learning so much from you..

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  9. Beautiful. I don't remember seeing a Red spotted purple in my garden. I will have to be on the look out, or maybe plant some host plants!

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  10. Absolutely gorgeous! It's great to see the butterflies through your lens--it gives me a greater appreciation of their beauty. Thank you.

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  11. That is an incredible selection of gorgeous butterflies and great macros. I only see some of them at the Butterfly Conservancy, it must be wonderful having them visit your garden. Native butterflies up here are no comparison.

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  12. Beautiful series of butterfly images.

    Happy Macro Monday.

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  13. As One said, we are synchronously posting butterflies at the same time! But yours are so colorful, i am envious. I've been chasing the more colorful ones last weekend, but i have not been so successful. Most of the brightly colored ones are so quick and dont alight longer for me to shoot.

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  14. Thanks for an informative post, and beautiful photos, as always. I have seen many American Ladies and Red-Spotted Purple Admirals in my garden, but didn't know what they were!

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  15. Gorgeous photos.It is always a joy to spot butterflies in my garden. Fritillaries are most common. I didn't know they were brushfoots. I will have to take a closer look at their legs!

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  16. You aren't the Girl of the Limberlost by any chance? Beautiful photos!

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  17. What perfect timing! just when I'm thinking about what plants I need to entice more butterflies to my yard. Great photos of the butterflies. I wish I could take such nice shots.

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  18. An amazing parade of butterflies, Karin ... stunning!

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  19. You take such wonderful butterfly photos!! I just started using my camera's sport setting so I can capture images of them as they flutter about. I think I have some of the same butterflies in my garden. :o) But sometimes they move too quickly to accurately ID them. I need slow butterflies!

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  20. Wow, I can't believe how many butterflies you have in your garden this summer! What a treat to get to see them all!

    I've been catching up on your blog and your anole captures are too cute. They are so photogenic and have such personalities. And, I can't believe your Beautyberries are fruiting already! Love it...fall will be in the air soon.

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  21. I am so envious of all of these butterflies!
    Lovely shots!

    Thanks for coming by my macro post this week.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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