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Milkweed is a butterfly magnet!
Posted By: mole, 07-17-2016, 07:55 PM

East Tennessee is home to more than half a dozen milkweed species. Each is an excellent nectar source for many insects, as well as a food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. This has been an especially good year for our commonest milkweed species, called Common Milkweed! In our Tennessee State Parks, we work hard to provide rich and varied habitat, including habitat for our native butterflies. This also gives us (park staff and park visitors) many opportunities to enjoy butterfly watching.

First, here's a photo of a Monarch laying eggs on common milkweed flower buds.




Now a few snapshots of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies enjoying common milkweed nectar.






Here's a Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring at common milkweed, and resting on an old gate nearby.






Here's one that's not a butterfly, but rather a diurnal moth. Snowberry Clearwings hover like hummingbirds as they sip milkweed nectar.






Will end with a few shots of our Tennessee State Butterfly. Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars eat Paw Paw leaves, and the adults love milkweed nectar. This milkweed patch is right near a paw paw patch - perfect habitat for the Zebras!








Hope you enjoyed the quick glimpse of this butterfly habitat, and that it will encourage you to grow native species for the butterflies. Thanks for any comments & critique!
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07-18-2016, 05:44 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by mole Quote
East Tennessee is home to more than half a dozen milkweed species. Each is an excellent nectar source for many insects, as well as a food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. This has been an especially good year for our commonest milkweed species, called Common Milkweed! In our Tennessee State Parks, we work hard to provide rich and varied habitat, including habitat for our native butterflies. This also gives us (park staff and park visitors) many opportunities to enjoy butterfly watching.

First, here's a photo of a Monarch laying eggs on common milkweed flower buds.
Now a few snapshots of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies enjoying common milkweed nectar.
Here's a Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring at common milkweed, and resting on an old gate nearby.
Here's one that's not a butterfly, but rather a diurnal moth. Snowberry Clearwings hover like hummingbirds as they sip milkweed nectar.
Will end with a few shots of our Tennessee State Butterfly. Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars eat Paw Paw leaves, and the adults love milkweed nectar. This milkweed patch is right near a paw paw patch - perfect habitat for the Zebras!

Hope you enjoyed the quick glimpse of this butterfly habitat, and that it will encourage you to grow native species for the butterflies. Thanks for any comments & critique!
Wonderful set of those beautiful butterflies! ((and moth(s) ))
You are so fortunate as to have them around where you live!
Cheers!

07-18-2016, 06:33 PM   #17
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I just found out there is a project monarch run at the schools here. They plant milkweed in all their gardens. That explains why there are always 4-5 around every flower garden.
07-21-2016, 12:06 AM   #18
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Beautiful series!

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07-22-2016, 03:58 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by mole Quote
Those smaller black insects might be the caterpillars of the Milkweed Tiger Moth.

I just googled that Tiger Moth and we do see them here a lot. We have to stop on our private dirt road when we walk with my youngest to let the orange caterpillars cross! It takes foreever.
However they are not those I meant. They are like beetles, a bit slimmer, black and 4 to 6 mm long. They are in large swarms on the milkweed and defoliate quite agressively leaving only the tougher nerves. They should appear soon, I will try to post some pictures.
David

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