Two Tawny Emperors

 The more studying I do, the more confused I get.

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 Tawny emperor butterflies lay their eggs in hackberry trees.

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The butterflies sip nectar from flowers and will also feed on rotting fruit.

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Hackberry butterflies will land on me for the sweat.

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Both are “sap-flow” butterflies too, meaning they also feed on rotting fruit.

Both the tawny emperors and hackberry butterflies lay their eggs on leaves in the hackberry trees.

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Now for my problem. When I found this caterpillar on the side of the house, I thought for sure it was a tawny emperor caterpillar. Then I started researching it.

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Seems they’re hard to distinguish them from that of the hackberry butterfly.

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  Their pattern changes as they grow.  Two stripes along the body turn yellow. So, since they’re hard to distinguish one from the other, I’ll just enjoy each encounter.

Tawny emperor butterflies visit flowers.

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Hackberry butterflies go more for the rotting fruit, and other things like, ugh, animal droppings. I smash rotten bananas on the cistern where I can watch the activity from the picture window by my computer. The large tree in the picture is a hackberry tree.

Young Assassin Bug

I know this is an assassin bug.

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That’s about all I know about it. Its body was a little under a half-inch long. The spines looks like they could be quite painful.

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The “paddles” on the end of its antennae have a interesting paddle shape. I wonder why?

Is it a young assassin bug or an adult?

Yard Miscellany

Back in early May when the doctor told me I was in early Alzheimer’s she didn’t tell me about the side effects of it. Side effects like nausea, dizziness, bad taste in my mouth, lack of appetite and forgetting a word now and then. I was frustrated this morning and decided to go on a loop walk of the backyard to see what I could find before it got to hot.

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A small bug on a hosta bud

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and a shed cicada skin.

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A snout butterfly’s long “snout” is actually the long labial mouth parts on both sides of its proboscis.

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The amberwing dragonfly apparently couldn’t get out of the spiderweb.

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Immature milkweed bugs stayed together on a lily leaf.

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This undoubtedly is the cutest little grasshopper I’ve ever seen.

Needless to say, I’ll be glad when the weather cools and I can be outside more.

Spiderwort Still Blooms

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Spiderwort (a tradescantia species) is a native wildflower.

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A dense clump of it grows in my spring wildflower garden between a hackberry and a pine tree.

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They were given to me by my girl scout leader years and years ago. She had health problems and wanted me to have most of the flowers in her garden.

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This picture shows just how dense the flowers grow.

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I became intrigued by the shape, the color of the flowers, and with the number of those past bloom.

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Obviously, the plants insist on having a long blooming time,

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and I plan on enjoying it.

(I wrote this blog the middle of July, and the plants are still blooming.)

Large Milkweed Bugs

You know it’s not been a good butterfly year

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if only 4 or 5 of them visit the butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

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I went outside in the afternoon and found four milkweed bugs on my small patch of the butterfly weed.

I took all these pictures between August 20 and September 18 last summer … and  am obviously late posting the blog. I’ll be surprised if I see any monarchs laying eggs or find any of their caterpillars.

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These young ones were the nymphs of large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). The dark spot in the upper right side of the seedpod was a hole where the nymphs entered to feed.

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The nymphs fed on the insides of the seeds in the seedpods.  Their size and pattern differentiated the ages.

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Lunch time. There were three seedpods on the common milkweed plant (Asclepias sryiaca).

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They continued growing. Then I went out one afternoon, and there was one that had just molted.

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I went out every fifteen minutes to watch the progress in this and the following two pictures. The faint wing colors surprised me.

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The wings continued to slowly darken. Notice how it used a hind leg to hold the wing in place as it dried.

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The wing still wasn’t quite dry.

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The few remaining milkweed bugs were gone in two or three days.

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The common milkweed is a perennial. This common milkweed is the same one as in the pictures above. Obviously, there have been no insect visitors so far this summer.

Obelisk Position

The weather was a high 91 degrees, with a strong south wind blowing.

(Which means the quality of the pictures isn’t the best. I’m not a fan of temperatures over 90.)

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This dragonfly spent most of its time in obelisk position

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to reduce the amount of direct sunlight on its body.

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I found another dragonfly in the obelisk position at noon today.

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I assumed it was after a tiny bug every time it flew a loop out and back to its perch.

 

A Spreadwing Skipper

A Horace’s duskywing skipper (Erynnis horatius) took time to feed on a blazing star.

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The adults visit flowers and mud puddles.

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The ones in southern Illinois emerge from early April to mid October.

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They prefer warm sunny spots in clearings along the edges of woodlands, and roadsides.

 

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