The Butterfly Nursery

By Sue Ann Kendall

Today on my lunchtime walk, I was looking for butterflies. I walked along County Road 140 keeping my eyes open. Here are some that I found.

I also saw lots of uncooperative tiger swallowtails and black swallowtails, along with buzzy little fiery skippers, tiny dainty sulphurs, and two gorgeous question marks. They were too busy to photograph. It’s a great time of year for butterflies.

A question mark I saw recently at another part of our ranch.

Hmm, why do I have so many butterflies?

I’ll tell you why we have so many! We let the wildflowers grow! You won’t see so many on fields that have been sprayed to remove broadleaf plants. Luckily, I let the milkweed and it’s buddies grow away. I also encourage the Texas prairie parsley.

It’s yellow.

Today I was looking for butterflies on this plant, Polytaenia texana. I didn’t see any at first. But that’s when I realized there were at least a dozen caterpillars in this one plant.

Nom nom

Well, apparently the black swallowtails that were everywhere in March and April have reproduced.

The earlier instars look like this.

It is so much fun watching the caterpillars munching away. And I’m looking forward to seeing them as beautiful adults later!

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