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First Butterfly of the Season {Friday Fun Fact: Edition #1}

Cabbage_butterfly1

The Cabbage White butterfly is a common pest to all gardeners.  To butterfly loving children in the majority of North America however, it is one of the first thrilling sights of spring.  We spotted our first one this year on April 5th and have seen several more in the last couple weeks.

On April 13th we were surprised while planting apple trees at the farm to have an early visit from a Spicebush Swallowtail and one of the Sulphurs.  Unfortunately they did not stay long enough to snap pictures.

Tiger_butterfly1

The Swallowtail pictured below is one we hatched last fall.  Apparently they love carrot tops, and Tiger (our resident butterfly enthusiast) found them  in our garden in every stage from egg and just hatched caterpillar to chrysalis.  We ended up with numerous specimens inside and really enjoyed watching the entire metamorphosis process.

Swallowtail

A few butterfly facts:

  • Cabbage White butterflies like to eat, among other things, cabbage and nasturtiums.
  • One of the Spicebush Swallowtails’ favorite foods is Sassafras – there is a lot of that in our woods.
  • A Spicebush Swallowtail can overwinter in its chrysalis and emerge in late April or early May.
  • The largest butterfly in the world is the Queen Alexandra’s birdwing.  It lives in Papua New Guinea and has a wingspan of up to 12 inches! You can see pictures and read about them here.
  • Some basic butterfly facts can be found here.
Have you seen a butterfly yet this year?

 

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