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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

Hatchy New Year!

As we move into a new year, our research continues. Tiffany Moore is unlocking the secrets behind the imperiled Lesser Wasp Moth. While she was measuring some eggs under the microscope, she was lucky enough to capture the moment that one of the caterpillars hatch out of an egg. Your browser doesn't support video. Please download the file: video/mp4   Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 05 January 2022

New Faithful Beauty Paper!

We just published a life history paper on the faithful beauty moth! It’s scientific name is Composia fidelissima. While researching this species, we found literature from the 1800’s that helped differentiate the subspecies between individuals in South Florida, C. fidelissima vagrans and the Cuban region, C. fidelissima fidelissima. These slight differences in appearance are hard to ... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 17 December 2021

More atalas going to a new home!

We gave away 85 atala hairstreak pupae to Connect To Protect Network (CTPN) members Judge Scott Janowitz and his wife Yonah Janowitz. As members of the CTPN, who have at least 8 large coonties on their property and appropriate nectar sources, they were able to sign up and receive atala butterflies from Zoo Miami. The give-away is part of a program and collaboration with Fairchild Tropical ... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 03 November 2021

Giving Some Atalas a New Home

Today, Butterfly Specialist, Tiffany Moore, rescued a bunch of imperiled atala hairstreak butterflies in various life stages from a property that was getting ready to spray their host plant, coontie, with pesticides. She then prepared around 100 pupae to become part of our partnership program with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Connect to Protect program. Homeowners that have met the m... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 14 October 2021

The Milkweed Problem

Let’s get one thing straight, it’s not you, it’s me. Ok, what I really mean is it’s your tropical milkweed. We get asked frequently about how people can get involved with saving the monarch butterflies. Our best advice for you is to safely watch your backyard pets but avoid interfering with their life cycle. It may be difficult, but it’s what is best for the specie... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 23 September 2021

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

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