at Fri Aug 19 08:51:13 2011 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PrincessKiara ]
Hello everyone! It's nice to finally be able to post here! I have a slight issue with the two large, beautiful butterflies that I caught in the act of laying eggs on my monstrously tall tree (looks like chokecherry; leaves light green and elongated, flowers pink and very tiny :-D), and I would really appreciate help with that.
First off, though, a little bit about me. I live in northwestern Washington State, but I'm moving soon, and I've never been much of a gardener (I just managed to kill three beautiful potato plants by planting them in bad soil :roll. But I've always loved butterflies and many other insects, and with this Painted Lady Butterfly Garden that my parents got me this year, my interest really took off. I've already managed to hatch fifteen or so of the offspring of my original five Painted Ladies, and am currently growing them out. They should pupate in a few days. Gorgeous
To return to my topic: Several weeks ago (2? 3? I don't know) I saw a beautiful black-and-red-and-white butterfly with perhaps a 3.5"-4" wingspan fluttering around my backyard. A few days ago, I saw another. Then, yesterday, I spied two of them fluttering round a chokecherry that grows about halfway into a small, weed-choked gap in a hedge. The way they were acting aroused my suspicions since I'd watched my Painted Ladies laying eggs before, and sure enough, on closer examination, there were two small green balls that I could see-twice as big as the Painted Lady's eggs, and with a slightly stronger, more greenish color-but I fancied I could (barely) see the small green lines that are also on the Painted Lady's eggs. Of course I immediately put the leaves holding the eggs into my transparent "Caterpillar Tupperware" :lol: I spent the whole afternoon trying to find more, but the rest of the eggs were all laid too high up. Today I shall see if I can catch the egg-laying female, put her in my Butterfly Garden with a sprig of the chokecherry, and release her after she's laid at least 8 more eggs there. But I need to know a few things first.
I would really like some help in having this butterfly identified. While I know the caterpillars' host plant, I also need to know whether the adults will drink watermelon juice, orange juice, or sugar water at the same strength as the Painted Ladies will. I need to know whether they have any other, easier-to-reach host plants, or how to lure them further down on the tree. I need to know the best method of catching them, either without a net or with an 8-inch aquarium net (which is all I have), whether they can live with my Painted Ladies, how many eggs they lay on average, any special care tips, and how long they will live. I also need to know how long it will take for the eggs to hatch, the caterpillars to pupate, and the adults to emerge; how to sex the adult butterflies; and whether it's likely they'll sicken my Painted Ladies (they look healthy-lively, wings whole, colors bright; plus my Butterfly Garden is outside already anyway). I've looked on many butterfly sites, to no avail. I originally thought, due to the resemblance of the eggs, size, wing shape and color that it was also a Vanessa species, but the closest though not exact color/pattern match I could find was the Lorquin Admiral. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, but I will do my best to describe this butterfly.
As I said before, it is slightly larger than the Painted Lady, having a very similar pattern to that of the Painted Lady's on the underside of both fore and hind wings. The body is slender and black. Its eggs are pale green, very similar in color to the underside of the tree's leaves. Its softly rounded wings are dark black on the topside, with the outer edge bright red and small white spots dotting the said edges. That's all I can remember for now, but I know I'll know it right away if I see it. I'll post a picture whenever I can...which may not be very soon :lol:
Thank you very much for your help!
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