Butterflies and Caterpillars in the Garden: Happy Birthday to me!

This morning was nice and calm and I decided to wander around and see what I could find in the garden. Found a few large Atala caterpillars munching on my coontie out back. They're very hard to take a good photo of, because depth of field is such a problem. Coontie are low-growing plants, so it's difficult to maneuver a tripod into position, so the "traditional" digital answer to this problem (aligning and stacking multiple exposures taken with slightly different focus points) is much harder to achieve. So the best I've been able to do is hold as still as possible, try to align the axes of the lens with those of the subject, and hope for the best. Here's a passable image, probably the best I've managed despite having the photo op literally 15 feet from my back door whenever I feel like it:
Atala Blue (Eumaeus atala). Boca Raton, FL, September 29, 2016.

Atala Blue (Eumaeus atala). Boca Raton, FL, September 29, 2016.

After I was done frustrating myself with this subject in the back yard, I wandered around to the font, where I found this lovely Gulf Fritillary butterfly resting on the Bahama Senna:
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). Boca Raton, FL, September 29, 2016.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). Boca Raton, FL, September 29, 2016.

Unlike the ones flying up high in the passionvine out back, this one was very still. I suspect it was freshly emerged and still drying its wings; they're not normally this quiescent in the bright morning sunlight. The native plant society might not think too much of my garden, but the native insects appear to enjoy it anyway!

4 comments

  • avatar

    And so are the digital passers-by, dear Ben. Thank you! May your day sparkle with such blessings.

  • avatar

    Wonderful way to start your birthday! Don’t worry about the Native Plant Society; the Master Naturalists and Night Sky folks love you!

    • avatar

      Thanks, Marta!
      Fortunately, I’m not worried that FNPS didn’t choose my garden because they don’t like me. I think they just don’t like the fact that I didn’t remove the noninvasive exotics that were here when we moved in (Coconut and other exotic palms), or the ones I’ve installed (Jatropha, Bahama Jacaranda, Panama Rose) for the butterflies. They’ve got a “strictly native” agenda; I just want a functional yard that doesn’t require too much effort but that supports native fauna.

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