Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Butterflies are Free
Among the many species of butterfly flying now that the weather has turned hot are an unusual number of mourning cloaks which have been flying, well, all year. Even though the greater part of this spring's huge crop of Nymphalis antiopa caterpillars and pupae perished to predation there are still many adults left to carry on. Mourning cloaks are multiple brooded meaning they will produce more than one generation per year. This one is either an older adult that emerged in April, or a newly emerged second generation adult.
Whichever way, Nymphalis antiopa, I salute you on this hot and bright summer day in my garden happy and able to support butterflies.
By the way, our city tree trimming crew came around a few weeks ago to reduce the lush canopy of the evergreen elm street trees . . . just in time for the intense summer sun. Also a vast reduction of caterpillar food, as the elm is the food of choice for this species in my neighborhood. I'm sure the breeding butterflies will manage with the leaves that remain, and the trees grow fast. I do wonder what the very best tree trimming timing would be for conservation of this species, though.