• Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) caterpillar on host plant, Senna mexicana.

    Senna and sulphurs

    By / August 21, 2015

    This spring I overhauled the front part of the front yard, getting rid of some scraggly dune sunflower and replacing it with some more long-lived plants. (Not that dune sunflower is bad or short-lived, but I have it in many other areas of the yard as well, and it needs frequent cutting back to keep… Read more

  • Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). Boca Raton, FL, May 8, 2015.

    Gulf Fritillary

    By / May 19, 2015

    The Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) is one of the most common butterflies in my backyard, and it’s one of the most impressive as well. Large and brightly colored, it’s attracted to the nectar provided by the abundant flowers of the butterfly sage (Cordia globosa) that I have growing in several places, as well as to… Read more

  • Eurema lisa on Richardia grandiflora. Boca Raton, FL, October 25, 2013.

    New backyard butterfly: Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)

    By / October 25, 2013

    Halloween is right around the corner and the butterflies are popping out of the woodwork. I’ve seen the “standard” passion vine butterflies (heliconians attracted to the Passiflora vines I have growing along the backyard fence) all summer, and they’re still out in force, but I’ve also got the smaller “grassy” butterflies flying around now. One… eumaeus_atala_20121122

    Eumaeus atala butterfly, at long last

    By / November 22, 2012

    I have a new puzzle on my hands. I don’t know of any places in the neighborhood with enough coontie to support the Atala Blue butterfly (Eumaeus atala), but I’ve got one “sleeping” on my pool deck: It’s been there all morning, from 8 a.m. when I got the right profile above, to noon, when… zebra_larvae

    Zebra Heliconian larvae

    By / October 28, 2011

    Back around Labor Day I wrote a couple of short pieces about the various egg-laying episodes I’ve seen on the hybrid passionvine in our back yard. This particular plant is a cross between our native Passiflora incarnata and a Mexican variety, thus explaining why our “3-lobed” native has 5-lobed leaves. The star of the September… Read more

  • papilio_cresphontes_20111010

    New backyard butterfly: Heraclides cresphontes

    By / October 11, 2011

    There hasn’t been much to post about recently, with all the wind and clouds keeping photo ops to a minimum. The heliconians (zebras and julias) are still hanging out around my passionvines, and the blues are still festooning the scorpion tail. I’m also seeing sulphurs around, as I have been all summer—no surprise with False… Read more

  • cassius_blue_20110725

    Backyard butterfly: Cassius Blue

    By / July 25, 2011

    One great thing about working from home is that it’s relatively easy to see wonderful things on your lunch break—that is, if you’ve planted the right backyard habitat. Last week I wrote about the butterfly-attracting qualities of Heliotropium angiospermum, or Scorpion’s-Tail, which is conveniently located between my pool and the backyard fence. Back then, I… Read more

  • Pearl crescent's underwing, showing the diagnostic "crescent."

    Early morning lepidoptera

    By / July 19, 2011

    Was out early last Sunday mowing (with a reel mower, no motors) the lawn (all volunteer plants, not watered except by the rain) and watching the boy play in the sandbox when I noticed this striking little butterfly on our good old Florida native scorpion’s-tail (Heliotropium angiospermum, which is a wonderful little plant that I… Read more

  • Backyard animals in June

    By / June 29, 2010

    There aren’t a ton of animals visible in the steamy sunny heat of late June here in Boca; those few that there are, apart from the omnipresent mockingbird and his counterpart in red, the cardinal, tend to be insects. Here’s a blue dasher dragonfly that seems to favor a perch on the spicewood tree on… Read more

  • Agraulis larvae

    By / December 14, 2009

    A couple of weeks ago (December 2, actually), I happened to be outside and found this larva of Agraulis vanillae, the beautiful Gulf Fritillary, on our maypop (passiflora) vine. I can’t get over how those little feet work so well to keep these guys attached to whatever they’re clinging to at the moment. Seeing this… Read more

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