Throwback Thursday: Butterflies
In the summer of 2013, I had grown concerned about the scarcity of butterflies in my garden. In years past, my garden had seen scores of butterflies on any given day, but in that summer I was seeing fewer and fewer of the beauties. I am very sorry to say that the situation has really not improved since then. This year, there seem to be even fewer butterflies of the kinds that I commonly saw in the past. Even though Monarchs, to name one species, have made a bit of a comeback, if I went out with my camera today, I doubt that I could find half of the species that I featured in this July 2013 post.
Butterflies appear to be such fragile creatures and yet they have been around on Earth since the mid Eocene epoch, between 40-50 million years ago, so obviously, they have found ways to survive in tough conditions before . The evolution of butterflies is closely linked to that of flowering plants, since both adult butterflies and caterpillars feed on such plants.
Of the 220,000 species of Lepidoptera, which includes both moths and butterflies, about 45,000 species are butterflies. Butterflies are found throughout the world, except in Antarctica, and are especially numerous in the tropics; they fall into eight different families, most of which are represented in my garden at various times throughout the year.
And even though the numbers are down, my garden does still get butterfly visitors. Here is a baker's dozen of the ones that have been present in recent months.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Backyard Nature Wednesday: Butterflies
A major topic of conversation among gardeners this spring and summer has been the scarcity of butterflies. I have written about it several times in my other blog, Gardening With Nature, and it was even expressed as a source of concern at my Mystery Book Club meeting this month.
The scarcity seems mostly related to an unfortunate series of weather events that has been unfriendly to the production of butterflies, but it is likely that the profligate use of pesticides by gardeners and farmers also plays a part.
American Painted Lady
Tropical Checkered Skipper