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Imperiled Butterflies of South Florida Program Updates

Below is the latest on our Imperiled Butterflies of South Florida program. To find out more about the program, the species and the Butterfly Bunker laboratory click here: Imperiled Butterflies of South Florida

Royal Battle

So you planted milkweed in your garden and now you have royal figures fighting for resources? Can you tell the difference between a monarch and a queen butterfly? Take a look at these photos and spot the differences. The caterpillar with three sets of appendages is the queen (Danaus gilippus) while the other caterpillar with two sets is the monarch (Danaus plexippus). There is also a color diff... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 09 September 2021

My Poop Throne

Have you ever seen a caterpillar sit upon a throne of poop? The ruddy daggerwing does! Young larvae of this species will use its silk to bind its frass (butterfly poop) into a chain for perching. Here, the larvae will rest when it is not eating. Only the first couple of instars will perch while older instars rest on the leaves. Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 28 May 2021

A Rock Star Is Born

Check out this hard-rock-loving caterpillar! Ok, so it doesn’t exactly listen to hard rock like AC/DC. It’s more of a Queen type of larva. This species is the ruddy daggerwing, Marpesia petreus. The dorsal spines are not as sharp as you’d think but they do have some stiffness. Exact usage of the spines is unknown but we might assume that it gives a visual deterrence to predato... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 21 May 2021

Find Me If You Can

A caterpillar is hidden in this photo, can you find it? Look carefully! This is the martial scrub hairstreak, Strymon martialis. The host plant pictured here is the Florida trema (Trema micrantha) but they also use buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) and bay cedar (Suriana maritima). This is a small butterfly that looks similar to the federally endangered Bartram’s scrub hairstreak (Strymon a... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 29 March 2021

If you build it, they will come!

We developed a butterfly garden guide for residents in Miami-Dade County! All of the plants listed are native to South Florida. They can either function as a host or nectar plant, and sometimes both! A host plant is considered to be the plant species that the larvae of the butterflies consume. For example, a monarch caterpillar can consume the leaves of its host plant, the milkweed. Adult monar... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 23 August 2020

The Circle of Life

While conducting Miami tiger beetle surveys in South Florida with a preserve manager, we encountered a federally endangered Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly! The sole host plant for this rare species is the pineland croton. In this photo, a female is laying an egg near the flower of this small croton. Encounters like this are surprising and very exciting! As conservation scientists, we... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 06 June 2020

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