Winged Guests & Days of Wild Wonder
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…
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 byÂ clicking back to this post, filled with butterfly garden design ideas, tips and techniques.Â For help identifying moths and butterflies, lately I’ve been enjoyingÂ The Butterflies and Moths of North America site here.
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