Hackberry butterflies are found over about two-thirds of the U.S. In Wisconsin, you’re most likely to see a Hackberry Emperor (HbE) in the southwestern third of the state and along the Mississippi River, but there are records elsewhere. The HbE is considered a fairly common butterfly in its range, but it is often overlooked because it’s flying around the tops of the trees. Its caterpillars feed on the several species of hackberry trees/shrubs. Period. As hackberry trees grow, so grow hackberry emperors.
Most sources agree that Pearl Crescents are one of the most abundant butterflies in the U.S. Some parts of the west coast are PC-free. They like grasslands, bike trails, vacant lots, edges, and open spots in woods, where they bask on low plants, siphon nectar from a variety of wildflowers with their long proboscis, or take in minerals and moisture from the edges of mud puddles.
The BugLady’s advice for the day is: Find yourselves a big clump of goldenrod and start looking. Bring your camera. Bring a lawn chair. What will you see?
Swamp Metalmark populations are in trouble, and the species is listed as rare/endangered in the areas where it is known to live. Why? Its habitat needs are very specific (location, location, location); its caterpillar eats a single, uncommon species of thistle; the adults nectar on only a half-dozen or so flowers; and they don’t stray far from their never-common-and-increasingly-rare habitat.
The Common Wood Nymphs have a “bouncy” flight. The adults generally feed on non-flower matter like rotting fruit, tree sap, dung and carrion, and the larval food plants are grasses and sedges.
The Browns/Satyrs/Wood Nymphs (BSWNs) are a group of butterflies that can be a bit troublesome to identify in the field. As the name implies, they tend to be gray-to-brown, and the eyespots on their wings are their main markings. Adult Browns don’t stray far from the habitats that support their caterpillars.
Today’s episode considers three small, blue “look-alike” butterflies—the Spring Azure and the Summer Azure, often referred to as the Spring Spring Azure and the Summer Spring Azure, and the Eastern Tailed Blue. The Spring Azures have long been considered to be one large and gloriously diverse species made up of several sub-species. Now they’re thought by many to be a number of full species.
A genuine, sometimes tentative, sign of spring in the Cedarburg Bog is the reappearance of dragonflies, but the first sightings may not be of local individuals. Common Green Darners migrate south in fall and repopulate the north country each spring. The Green Darners that deliver the spring lay eggs that hatch into naiads that take the whole summer to mature. These offspring will make the trip south in fall. Chalk-fronted Corporals are northern dragonflies that emerge in early May.
Cabbage Whites/Cabbage butterflies are among the first butterflies to appear that have actually emerged from a chrysalis in the current year, and they are followed soon afterward by the closely-related Sulphurs. These medium-sized (2” wingspan) white or yellow butterflies may be monochromatic or they may add black wing tips and some spots. Adults are strong fliers that nectar at a variety of flowers. They are most active during mid-day in open/cleared/weedy/cultivated/fields/meadows/gardens/road edges in cities and suburbs and rural areas
The Painted Lady Butrterfly can be seen in temperate areas on five continents and may have the biggest range of any butterfly. Not only does it live in a lot of places, it migrates to even more. Look for PLs in open, sunny areas—fields, road edges, gardens, dunes. There the adults sip nectar, especially from thistle and clover flowers, and males defend their territories from perches. PLs fly north in mid-spring and there are probably two broods per summer here. Eggs are laid on caterpillar food plants like hollyhock, nettle, lupine, plus thistle and many other plants in the aster family