This article is going to continue discussing those butterflies in our area, what they use as host and nectar plants, and in what habitats you can find them.
Remember that female butterflies usually lay their eggs on or below host plants, so that that when the larvae or caterpillars hatch, they won't have far to go to find food. Adult butterflies often feed from other sources.
Hairstreaks are possibly named as such for their many lines on the hindwings or from their narrow tails. Many of them have an eye-spot near the edge of the hindwing that attracts the attention of predators, instead of the insect's real head.
The Red Admiral Butterfly
The Banded Hairstreak male's under side of his hind wing is brown with a row of dark dashes with white edges. Its host plants include the leaves of oak, walnut, and hickory trees. The adult drinks from milkweed, Dogbane, daisy and sumac. Look for it in fields near oak woodlands.
The Striped Hairstreak has so many lines that they appear to be stripes. Also, there is an orange cap on the hindwing blue spot. Host plants include fruits such as Wild Cherry and Blueberry, roses, hornbeam, oaks and willows. The adults have been seen feeding on Common Milkweed, Dogbane, goldenrods, Meadowsweet, Staghorn Sumac, Viburnum and White Sweet Clover. Look for this on the edges of woodlands, and shady swamps.
Anglewings and Tortoiseshells are often described together because, instead of feeding from flower nectar, they feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, animal scat or carrion. Also, they overwinter as adult butterflies by hiding under loose bark of trees or in house cracks.
The Question Mark is a medium-sized orangy insect. It is the only Anglewing with a small black bar in the front of the frontwing. Its host plants are nettles, the elms and hackberry. The adult feeds from animal dung and urine for minerals. Other foods are carrion, rotting fruit and tree sap. Look for it in parks, wooded areas with some open areas, and brushy fencerows.
The Mourning Cloak is black on the uppersides of the wings and yellow on the edges. That dark color absorbs the sun's warmth in the veins, which then allows the blood to return to the body so that flight can occur. It feeds from willows, poplar, birch, cottonwood, elm, and hackberry. Look for it along streams, or in moist woodlands. Last year in Watts Flats, I saw a Yellow-billed Cuckoo feeding on the larvae of this breed. There must have been hundreds of caterpillars.
The two Lady butterflies in our area (Painted Lady and Red Admiral) are the most seen all over the world. Adult males in late afternoon can be seen at the top of tall shrubs.
The large Painted Lady has a pointed forewing with an orangish upperside. Its host plants are thistle, mallow, and legumes. Adults have been seen feeding on many plants. Look for it in fields, marshes and gardens.
The large Admirals have a distinctive flap and glide flight.
The large Red Admiral has reddish-orange bands across its forewing and on the edge of its hindwing. It also feeds on Nettles. Look for it along streams, marshes, and moist fields.
The Viceroy mimics the Monarch to fool predators that it is also poisonous. However, it has a dark black line in the middle of its hindwing and two rows of white spots. Its host plants are the willows. You won't find it at the milkweed. Look for it in swampy areas and along lakes.
Our northeastern United States is the only location of Eyed Browns and there are only two of those. They can be found in marshes and swamps and eat bird droppings or sap. They feed from sedges (plants in marshes that have tall green leaves with square edges).
Last, but not least, are the Milkweed butterflies. Of course our Monarch is famous for its long migration to Mexico. It eats the Milkweed, but rarely its look-a-like, the dogbane.
We have all the above-mentioned habitats that attract butterflies at the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Also, we have a garden with many butterfly-attracting plants and often butterflies. The trails are open from dawn to dusk daily. The center's hours are from 10 a.m., to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4:30 p.m., on Sunday. Call 569-2345 for more information.
Ann Beebe is the volunteer in charge of the gardens at the Audubon.