Winged Guests & Days of Wild Wonder

July 14th, 2013 § 3 comments § permalink

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly on Valeriana officinalis with Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly on Garden Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) with Nishiki Willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’) Beyond

Early in the morning —in the still before sunrise, when the air is calm and cool— the garden awakens with a fluttering dance. Red-Spotted Purple butterflies —dusty plum-black wings, dotted with aqua and scarlet— flit about the sleepy Valerian, teasing it into motion. Nearby, Swallowtails tickle the tips of Queen Anne’s Lace, Great Spangled Fritillaries sweep through tangerine-hued Butterfly Weed and the dramatic Virginia Ctenucha lights upon Black-Eyed Susans to sample sweet, summer nectar…

Virginia Ctenucha on Rudbeckia - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comVirginia Ctenucha Wasp Moth on Rudbeckia hirta ‘Becky Mixed’ with Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ Beyond. Like the Hummingbird Moth, this Creature is a Diurnal Garden Guest 

Impossible to miss with its electric-blue body, yellow-orange head and olive-brown, metallic-powder dusted wings, the Virginia Ctneucha (Ctenutcha virginiana, pictured above and below), made a first-time appearance in my garden this week. What’s that? I had to do a quick ID. In its adult stage, this diurnal wasp moth gathers nectar from flowering plants for sustenance, and in youth, the larvae feed upon native grass, sedges and iris. Read more about this broad-winged wasp-moth here.

An organic garden filled with non-stop, nectar-rich flowers and ample foliage for caterpillars, is the key to creating a successful moth and butterfly habitat. Find more ways to attract and support beautiful butterflies and moths by clicking back to this post, filled with butterfly garden design ideas, tips and techniques. For help identifying moths and butterflies, lately I’ve been enjoying The Butterflies and Moths of North America site here.

Virginia Ctenucha (close up) - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Close Up of the Virginia Ctenucha Wasp Moth’s Iridescent Blue Body, Yellow-Orange Head and Metallic-Dusted, Olive-Brown Wings

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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