Posts Tagged ‘black oak’

Surprise Observation


A red-spotted purple butterfly flew into the oak in our front yard. It made many short stops on different leaves, acting like it was looking for a place to lay an egg. Butterflies tap their front feet on the leaf to smell it.

Obviously, I didn’t take this picture today. She moved so fast I wasn’t even going to go out and try for pictures.

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I’ve never seen them lay eggs in oaks, but my butterfly books list oak as a host tree. It moved around in the tree so quickly that I couldn’t tell if it laid an egg or not.

Oak trees hybridize, so I’m not sure what kind this one is. I know it’s in the the black oak family because the leaves are bristle-tipped.

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The female lays her eggs singly on the tip of the leaf where predators aren’t likely to find it. Red-spotted purples their eggs in wild black cherry  and willow trees.

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The little caterpillar eats the leaf along the vein. It cuts off a piece of the leaf, leaving it to dangle and draw attention away from the caterpillar.

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The caterpillar’s pattern changes as it grows.

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This caterpillar is full grown and ready to pupate.


It looks like I should occasionally check the oak leaves for red-spotted purple eggs and caterpillars.

Unexpected Color


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The leaves are bristle-tipped, which tells me this tree is in the black oak family.

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The young oak grows in the corner of the weedpatch in our backyard.

(It’s obvious that years of neglect produced a jungle. It can be a hub of activity.)

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The pink of the new leaves caught me off guard.

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Even the leaves at the top of the tree were pink.