Pear Central

This pear tree used to be a hub of activity as the pears rotted.

Butterflies sipped from the pears rotting in the tree,

Hackberry butterfly

  from ones laying on the ground,

Question mark butterfly

and those lodged in the tree.

There’s a large family of butterflies, called brushfoots, that prefer to feed on rotting fruit and sap flows. Most will feed on flowers too. They’re called brushfoots because their front pair of legs is greatly reduced, making them look like they have 2 pairs of legs instead of 3.

Red-spotted purple butterfly

And more red-spotted purples

Viceroy butterfly


Obviously, viceroys closely resemble monarch butterflies. The way to tell them apart, is by the extra black band on the hindwing.

Buckeye butterfly

Lower one hackberry butterfly, other a tawny emperor butterfly

Tawny emperor on left and question mark butterfly on right. Note the silver “question mark” on its hindwing

Hackberry butterflies commonly landed on me for the salt in my sweat

The beginnings of the pear/butterfly “season”

The pears fermented, and this led to inebriated butterflies. It was funny watching some walking in the grass. It also made them calmer around people.

Wasps and ants enjoyed the fruit

The pears attracted nighttime insects too. I had to use a flashlight so I could focus the camera to take the following pictures.


Daddy long legs

Two moths

If you have a lot of butterflies in your yard, you can still attract them with fruit. I put overripe grapes on the cistern along with melon rinds. Any fruit and a lot of sunshine will attract any brushfoot butterflies in the area.

It was a sad day when I realized the pear tree was dying. It will be left standing as long as there’s anything left standing. It’s now the birds’ favorite perch.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on July 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

    No jokes, sorry Kathy! This is one of the best! Photography spectacular! Loved all of the close-ups on the different butterflies. They are so beautiful. I am so sorry the tree has died but it gave you many memories…and…intelligent you…you captured them on film!!! Wish I had a pear tree! (just to see butterflies)


  2. Wonderful collection of lives and tribute to a tree’s contribution over the years . Reminds me, in a way, of The Giving Tree.


  3. Sad, sad times. I remember when we used to go out and look at all the butterflies and life. Now it’s lifeLESS. 😦


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