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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

E.L.A.B. Lantana Edition

Yes everybody loves a butterfly, but what do butterflies love? From my observation throughout the summer here I would have to say lantana; butterflies love to nectar on lantana blossoms.

Pictured here are West Coast Lady Lady (vanessa anabella), Gulf Frittilary (Agraulis vanillae), Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus), Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus), and the ever exciting Giant Swallowtail, (Papilio cresphontes) which is the top photo. Not pictured but also seen nectaring at lantana are monarchs, funereal duskywings and an occasional cabbage white. My advice is, if you want to feed butterflies, plant lantana.


Fern said...

So that's why I have so many caterpillars this year...I planted Lantana.

Cindy said...

I really like that top photo!

vanessa cardui said...

Hi Fern. Without caterpillars we would have no butterflies. That said, butterflies (and moths) typically are very selective as to food plants for their larvae (caterpillars), often only using one species or genus. These food plants are also often not what you might imagine. Peter Bryant's site has a list of butterflies and their food plants at
There's a good chance the caterpillars you have chowing down on your plants are moth larvae. You could try a Bt product if you want to control them, but I've found that wasps are extremely successful predators on caterpillars; or there's always hand-picking.

vanessa cardui said...

Hey Cindy, thanks. Those giant swallowtails, elusive as they can be, are becoming more numerous this year. I even have them float across my patio on a regular basis now. So exciting.