Saturday, June 21, 2014

Milkweed for the Butterflies

Danielle and I went to Hill Country Water Gardens this afternoon to get some plants for the yard. We picked up some Tropical Milkweed to add to the seedlings of Green Antelopehorn Milkweed we already have. Although Tropical Milkweed is a South American native plant, it is a host plant for some butterfly caterpillars, and the ones we saw at the nursery were attracting several butterflies. We initially thought these were Monarch Butterflies, but on closer examination, they were Soldier Butterflies. The Monarch has much bolder black veining in the wings and a black trailing boarder on the forewings. The very similar Queen Butterfly lacks the white spots on the hindwings.

Milkweed is a necessary food source for the Monarch caterpillars; the Green Antelopehorn Milkweed is the preferred native milkweed in Texas, as the toxins in the plant make the butterflies inedible to many predators, but Tropical Milkweed is still a very attractive plant.

Soldier Butterfly - iPhone 5 -  4mm, f/2.4, 1/753 sec, ISO-50

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