Tag: insect

Monarch Butterflies

I love monarch butterflies! Butterflies in general are so whimsical and make me feel 12 again. I was lurking through my media files and happened upon this folder labeled ‘fall walk’. Well, that was a pretty uneventful title for a nice set of pretty flutter-bys!! I’m not even sure where these were taken, but who cares 😉 Just enjoy them.

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imageThey like the late season bonanza found on Joe Pye Weed and the Queen Anne’s Lace make nice landing pads.

The origin of names has always fascinated me. So, who was Joe Pye and why does he have a weed named after him?? I found quite a large amount of research on the topic. For a Cliff’s Notes version, read below:

Joseph Pye of Stockbridge could have had an ancestor from Salem who treated colonists for typhus thereby making his “fame and fortune,” or his name might have been a corruption from a hypothetical Indian word for typhus or some similar disease.  But I ask: Why not embrace the hard evidence that Joseph Pye was a Mohegan sachem who lived in western Massachusetts precisely where Eaton tells us that “Joe Pye’s Weed” was in “common use” as a treatment for typhus; that he lived his notable life there just a few decades before Eaton remarks on Joe Pye’s Weed; that the president of the college where Eaton lectured believed that he successfully treated his fever with a tea made from Joe Pye’s Weed; that Joseph Pye was educated by Samson Occam, himself an herbalist?  All this is substantiated and frankly I believe makes a better story than any borne of speculation.

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Of course, monarchs love milkweed. If everyone could just plant a few of these in their yard, we would truly be able to help their populations.

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© The Naturarian

Giant Leopard Moth ~ Hypercompe scribonia

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This little guy is in his ‘Don’t eat me!’ a posture that protects his underside and flashes the orange stripes, which usually mean this meal is unpalatable.

The Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth (Hypercompe scribonia) various forests having host plants on which the caterpillars forage extensively. Gardens, farmlands, woodlands and public areas can be frequented by them.

Females emit pheromones that are caught by the antenna of the males that successfully locates the female for mating. When mating is over, the female gets on with the process of laying eggs.

Giant Leopard Moth
Adults fly from April to September

After the eggs are laid, the larvae come out of them which start feeding on the leaves where they emerge out of the eggs. As caterpillars, they assume the wooly bear appearance and go into hibernation for some time during the winters. But it might as well wake up for light foraging on milder days in the temperate regions. After sleeping over winter, it weaves cocoon from its body. It becomes the pupa after molting in the wake of spring. In the next few weeks, it transforms into an adult moth.

Host plants for larvae: cherries, plantains, violets, honeysuckles, magnolia, cabbage, sunflower, lilac, dandelion, pokeweed, willow, maples and other broad-leaved plants.

The dorsal aspect of the abdomen is iridescent, blue-black with orange lateral spots or occasionally orange with large blue-black spots. The legs also have iridescent, blue-black setae.

When threatened, adults ‘play possum’ and curl their abdomen to display their bright orange stripes. They also secrete a droplet of yellow, acrid fluid from the thoracic glands that is bitter tasting.

© The Naturarian