This is my first post in a meme I’ve decided to start — Butterfly Bucket List. If you’re interested in finding out what it’s all about just click here or on the menu item at the top of this page! I hope you enjoy this post. If so, please consider joining in this month as well as on the 4th Sunday of each month in the future. (I know today is the 5th Sunday, but I had to start somewhere!)
My post for this month focuses on the Question Mark Butterfly. These odd looking but beautiful butterflies have been showing up in bunches in my garden over the past four or five weeks.
Question Mark Butterfly — Summer Form
The Question Mark Butterfly has two forms — Summer and Winter. This photo is of the summer form — the form that’s been flitting around in my yard — showing the almost totally black upperside hind wing. In the winter form of the butterfly the same area is almost totally orange. Winter forms begin appearing during the late summer, a product of the eggs laid by the summer form.
The Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) receives its name from the whitish ‘question mark’ on the underside of its hind wing. You can see it very clearly in this photo.
Rotting fruit (they love rotten bananas!), tree sap, bird droppings, animal dung and decaying animal matter are the foods of choice for the Question Mark Butterfly. If none of these are available they will feed on the nectar of such plants as Aster (Aster), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia). The butterfly above is resting on the blooms of Rocket Larkspur (Delphinium consolida Rocket), either enjoying a meal or just taking a rest!
Question Mark Butterflies are easy to miss when they’re resting on plants and trees. When their wings are folded they look very much like a brown leaf and can blend into their surroundings. This camouflages them perfectly from predators.
Sometimes the ‘question mark’ on the underside hind wing is not as pronounced, with the ‘dot’ of the mark being small or even absent. This is evident in the specimen in the photo above.
(CLICK ON ANY PHOTO ABOVE TO ENLARGE)
Caterpillar hosts include American Elm (Ulmus americanus), Red Elm (Ulmus rubra), Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis ), Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), Japanese Hop (Humulus japonicus), Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica ) and False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica).
Thanks for visiting my Butterfly Bucket list post for May 2015. If you’d like to join in on this meme, feel free! Just visit the comment section and provide a link to your post.