Posts Tagged ‘hackberry butterfly’

Strange Spider Web

This dead pear tree has quite a history.

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Now it houses a spider whose web is about 3 feet high in the tree.

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The silk is so fine the web would be hard to spot if it wasn’t for the “stuff” in it. The “stuff” looks like sawdust. Woodpeckers do visit the tree and “sawdust” would fall when there was activity above … or the spider added it when spinning the web.

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These three pictures of the web weren’t taken on the same day.

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It was an active place when the tree was alive and producing fruit. I have no idea what’s included in the “stuff” in the line … unless it’s somehow young spiders. (They are spider egg cases.)

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The pears would rot and drop when the tree was alive. The rotten fruit then attracted many, many butterflies and other insects  too.

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Red-spotted purple butterflies visited flowers.

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The viceroy resembles a monarch, only the monarch lacks the extra black band on the hindwing.

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Besides the rotten fruit, the hackberry butterflies will also visit animal droppings and carrion.

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A question mark butterfly joined the hackberries. If you look close, you’ll see a faint gold upside-down question mark in the middle of its hindwing.

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The buckeye butterflies have an eye spot on the top of the forewing and two spots of different sizes on their hindwing.

I plan to enjoy the pear tree until it’s all fallen down.

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The Hackberries

.I’m glad to be back. I missed the blogging and my followers.

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   This hackberry tree grows in our backyard, close to the house. Hackberry butterflies lay their eggs on hackberry leaves.

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They sip nectar from honeysuckle flowers and

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from the white coneflowers. The butterfly in the picture above is a tawny emperor. It also lays eggs in hackberry trees. Both species feed on fermenting fruit, tree sap and animal droppings

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.

A Friendly Hackberry Butterfly

I came into the computer room to work on a blog, and there was a hackberry butterfly (Asterocampa celtis celtis) on the inside of the picture window.

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I put a pint jar over it and slid a piece of paper between the window and the jar.

I couldn’t  figure out how it got in the house … unless a caterpillar somehow got in the house, pupated, and emerged today (August 30).

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I sat on the front porch, taking picture after picture of it

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from different angles.

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It seemed intent on exhibiting its wing markings.

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Adding a profile showed its proboscis, a “straw” coiled when not sipping moisture from damp places.

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They seldom visit flowers and prefer sap flows, fermenting fruit,

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tree sap and animal droppings … and sweat.

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The adults seldom visit flowers and are commonly found at moist places, on fermenting fruit, tree sap and animal droppings.

They lay their eggs in masses, and the larvae are gregarious when young. The partially grown caterpillars hibernate through the winter.

Swinging Caterpillar

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I realize this picture is far from being a good picture … it is better than the next one.

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Take into account the 3/4 inch caterpillar hung from a strand of silk, blowing in the wind. I had to hold my hand behind the swinging caterpillar so the camera had a chance of focusing on the caterpillar.

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Caterpillars of the hackberry butterfly feed on leaves of the hackberry tree.

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Hackberry butterflies (Asterocampa celtis) visit moist places, tree sap, rotting fruit and even animal droppings.

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 They will also land on me for the sweat.

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It could also be the caterpillar of the tawny emperor butterfly (Asterocampa clyton). Both have green caterpillars with a slight variation of yellow striping on their back.

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Both species should begin flying around the first of June.