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.


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.

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.

 Variegated Fritillary

 Red Admiral

 Black Swallowtail

 Gulf Fritillary

 Giant Swallowtail

 Fiery Skipper


 Spicebush Swallowtail

 American Painted Lady

 Tiger Swallowtail

 Pipevine Swallowtail


Tropical Checkered Skipper


  1. Haha...And you were complaining there was a scarcity of butterflies. See how many you photographed! These are lovely pictures, Dorothy.
    I love butterflies but I have never been able to capture any in pictures.

    1. Well, there were scarcer in 2013 than previously and they are even scarcer today. I'm not sure how many I'd be able to photograph today. Once my hamstring heals a bit more, maybe I'll find out.

  2. Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  3. It is a very worrying trend - I am hoping that numbers recover soon. I hope that your hamstring recovers soon too.

    1. Thank you. So do I. I now have new empathy for athletes who suffer hamstring strains or tears.

  4. This morning I was putting my hose away and saw a brownish butterfly on the stone where I lay the nozzle. It looked like it had possibly just hatched. Was sitting there shivering. When I just went to check, it was gone. I have quite a lot of butterflies in my yard and have ever since I moved to this town, but I think there are less each year. At least we give them somewhere to come to with our gardens! Loved the photos.

    1. I think that our very wet spring has probably not been a good thing for the development of caterpillars and perhaps that is why I'm not seeing many butterflies around the garden recently.


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