Posts Tagged ‘tawny emperor’

Yum Yum

I wrote this blog earlier and didn’t get it posted. I’d rather post it now instead of waiting until next summer.

This is one of my favorite times of the year, when the fruit rots when I put it out for the butterflies. Some summers the butterfly numbers are low, and others they’re just the opposite.


The one above is a question mark. You can tell by the small gold question mark on the underside of its hindwing.


Tawny emperor (a ragged one)

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The red admiral butterfly has visited the rotting fruit. It didn’t pose for a picture, so I had to find one in my picture files.


Red spotted purple


Most are hackberry butterflies.


Five tawny emperors, one viceroy (orange one that resembles a monarch butterfly), and a red spotted purple. There’s usually butterflies on the fruit for several hours, unless it’s raining.


Their numbers continued to increase until now when only  10 – 15 visit a day

The Hackberries

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


   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


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

Line Forms to the Right


Tis’ the season for sapflow butterflies to  visit rotten fruit for their meals.

The butterfly in the foreground is a tawny emperor. One of the three in the line is a tawny emperor. All the others are hackberry butterflies. They each have their proboscis down where the banana split open when I “smushed” it with my sandal. There’s two apple halves in the background.

The hackbery trees in our yard are one of the reasons we have so many hackberry and tawny emperor butterflies here at this time. Both lay their eggs in hackberry trees. A huge hackberry tree grows eight feet or so from the cistern where the butterfly are gathering, and several grow in the yard.


The orange and black butterfly above is often called a “monarch” when, actually, it’s a viceroy. The black band on  its hindwing differentiates it from the monarch.

Tawny Emperor

Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton,clyton)


A large hackberry tree grows in the backyard, close to the house and where I can easily see it from the computer.

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Tawny emperors lay their eggs in hackberry trees. Hackberry butterflies do too. I’ve only seen one hackberry butterfly so far this year.


  I wonder how long it will be before I see another butterfly?


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Crab spiders have the ability to change color to match that of the flower they’re on. In this case, it’s among wingstem flowers. This is a female crab spider. Males are much smaller.

Her prey looks like a tachina fly.


Here’s another example of predation:

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I blogged this chrysalis earlier this summer. It was attached to the side of our garbage container.

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It belonged to a tawny emperor butterfly.

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A couple of weeks later another chrysalis was attached to the side of the container. I knew it was parasitized when it started turning dark.

Then came even another predator.

Tawny Emperor Butterfly


Hackberry trees have become common in our yard,


thanks to all the birds that visit the trees, eat the berries and later “drop” the seeds.


Tawny emperor butterflies (Asterocampa clyton clyton),


commonly visit our yard,


and feed on flowers of this faerie wand.


 I don’t recommend planting faerie wand in a garden, even though it’s an insect magnet. A friend gave me a start years ago, and I enjoyed it. I don’t enjoy it anymore — the plants have long runners and at this stage, there’s a jungle of plants and a deep wad of roots in three-fourths of my butterfly garden.


Hackberry butterflies (Asterocampa cletis celtis) also lay eggs on the leaves in hackberry trees.


Both species seldom visit flowers flowers


 commonly visit rotting fruit and sap flows.

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.