Bill Roston Native Butterfly House Discussion June 25 ~ Zale lunata larva & Gulf Fritillary
Intial comment and photos by Kevin Firth
Hi Gang, I have some bad news to report…. The Zale lunata larva that I wrote about last time has met a bad end (see comments HERE). Several days after my last email, I came home to find that my larva had been parisitized–dozens of wasp larvae had finished feeding on the caterpillars tissues and emerged from its body in order to pupate (see attached photo below). If you look closely, you can see the holes in the flank of the caterpillar where the wasp larvae bored their way out. The caterpillar survived for several days after the larvae pupated. The good news is that Dr. Barnhart talked me into taking it home, thereby removing a source of many parasites from the BH. It is a stark reminder that we all need to be on the lookout for parasites when we are in the house. Small consolation, but the adult Lunate Zale would have looked like this: http://bugguide.net/node/view/4197
On to happier news…. We have had a visit from a Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) recently, and she left behind some eggs on our passionvine, which I have collected and am raising inside, safe from parasites and predators. Gulf Fritillaries are southern immigrants (they migrate north each year, sometimes making it as far north as Missouri), whose range extends from South America through Central America and Mexico into the southern United States. I have seen them before, but not since 2007. I now have about a dozen larvae, several of which should be close to pupation (see photo below). It is my hope that we might be lucky enough to have some adults in house during the Festival. Bugguide and BAMONA have some much better pictures than those that I took back in ’07: http://bugguide.net/node/view/567/bgimage and http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Agraulis-vanillae
I will leave it at that for now, but I would encourage any of you who are raising caterpillars or getting photos of interesting or unusual Leps, please share with the group!
All the best, Kevin Firth
Kevin I’m sorry–I know when I’ve raised cats, how I’d feel to come upon such a sight. It’s kind of a shock, even though you know it’s nature in action. I’m glad you’ve got the gulf fritillaries coming on; we have a couple of full vines just ready for eggs to be laid on them. They have elicited a lot of comments this spring for the flowers, and now for the hanging “pops”.
I’m on the lookout for preditors now! Saw my first plant-eating Japanese beetle in the house Sun. Dorothy T.
SPECIAL SUMMER HOURS: Visit the Bill Roston Native Butterfly House where there are now special summer hours thanks to Julia, an intern volunteer. In addition to the regular hours of operation you can now visit the Butterfly House, Monday-Friday, 9am to 2pm until July 20th (except for June 27-July 2). This is a great place to bring the kids (of all ages) with a picnic lunch. Springfield Botanical Garden, Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave. REGULAR HOURS: The Butterfly House is also open to the public, mid May through September, weekends, 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. Plus Monday – Wednesday evenings, 5pm until dusk. Questions and group tours call 417.891.1515.