Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ending the silence.

Hi guys, we've had a little lapse in blog posts. The heat has hit us hard, but now on this cool Wednesday I think an update is in order.

Monarchs are doing well, at last count we have had around 48 caterpillars pupate, hopefully they will be emerging as adults in the next 7-10 days. As soon as they do emerge they'll get to work on the next generation of homegrown Monarchs. For now we'll be keeping the males and females separate to control the number of eggs laid, otherwise they'll eat up all of our milkweed again.

We're right in the middle of leaf mimic month. Everyone who stops by should be sure to catch a glimpse at one of these leaf mimics before they leave, let a staff member know and we'll show you where to look.

Keep your eyes peeled while you're outdoors! Prime Monarch season is upon us, VA peaks around Sep 19th - Oct 1st according to Monarch watch so we're about a month out from the peak.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monarch photos.

Promised I'd give you guys photos, sorry its taken so long.

Here is a photo of a mating pair of Monarchs. The female in the photo was seen depositing eggs for several days after this photo was taken. By that time many if not all of the males had expired.

is a photo of one of the Monarch eggs.

Here is an early instar Monarch larvae, I'm thinking 2nd instar.

Here is an older larvae, the difference in age is only a couple days.

This photo shows how the larvae seem to cluster on the new growth / flower buds. They seem to like to eat both flower buds and newly developed seed pods.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Leaf Mimic Month

August is leaf mimic month. Throughout August we will be featuring butterflies that have adaptations that allow them to blend in with their surroundings. Here are some photos of the leaf mimics we will be featuring.

These photos are freely available from wikimedia commons and were not taken at the garden except where noted otherwise. As soon as we have some to post I'll let ya know.

Consul fabius aka "Tiger With Tails" : Many butterflies are brightly colored on one side of their wings but drably camouflaged on the other. This allows them to attract mates when they want to, and hide from predators when they're not active.

Doleschallia bisaltide aka "Autumn Leaf" (taken at LGBG) and a ventral or "underside" view

Kallima inachus
aka "Orange Dead Leaf" A dorsal or upperside view

Salamis anacardii aka "Clouded Mother of Pearl"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Monarch updates.

Many of our Monarch larvae are progressing into their second and third instars. An instar is the period between molts. The first instar denotes the period between when the larvae hatches from its egg and its first molt. Monarchs have 5 instars. Each molt is usually acompanied by some noticeable change in morphology, morphology is a scientific term that means structure or shape. For instance in the second instar Monarch larvae the tubercles appear (protrusions above their heads that look like antennae).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monarch larvae arrives.

We have monarch larvae hatching all over the place. They're still tiny only in their first or second instar but over the next couple of weeks they'll get much bigger! Come by and check them out, photos soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Monarchs update

Hi guys, a couple of days ago we noticed our first few pairs of monarchs mating. Over the last 24 hours we've found eggs popping up on our milkweed. So hopefully we'll have some big fat monarch larvae for everyone to see in a couple of weeks.

Photos and video to follow shortly!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Amazing new species featured this week.

We received 5 Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing) butterflies in our last shipment. Check out this picture of one of our Leopard Lacewings.
Cethosia cyane perched on a variety of Butterfly Bush.