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Welcome to our Butterfly Facts & Information Page

Note:   

The Butterfly Art Company is firmly committed to the preservation, promotion, and expansion of the world population's knowledge of these wonderful creatures, and the habitats that are necessary for their survival.

Did you know?

That most adult butterflies only live between 2 and 14 days.

That there are more than 170,000 identified species of  Lepidoptera - Butterflies and Moths, and that only about a tenth of these are really butterflies, the rest are moths.

That one of the smallest butterflies in the world has a wingspan of only 5/8ths of an inch (1.5cm).  Its the Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis).

The largest is not even a butterfly, its a moth.  With a wing span of up to 12 inches (30cm).  Its called the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas).

That the Monarch Butterfly is only one of a few butterflies that migrate, and have an adult life span up to around 8 months long.

That less than 7% of the eggs laid in the wild will survive to become adult butterflies, where as eggs laid on farms will have a 70-90% survival rate.

Some butterflies have a very unique way of camouflage, some look just like a leaf.  The Kallima inachus is just one of many that blend into their surroundings.

Do you know how to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth?  Well, a butterfly is usually brightly colored, and has a clubbed antennae.  If your still unsure, a butterfly will rest with its wings in an upright and closed position over their back.  Moths rest with their wings in an open and flattened position, and have feathered - non clubbed antennae or a straight staff antennae without a club at the end.

How to Attract Butterflies to your Garden:

There are many reasons to start a butterfly garden in your backyard or on your window sill. 

The four main goals of a butterfly garden are:

Planting gardens is environmentally sound and helps bring plants and flowers back into populated, urban areas.

Bringing native plants back into your local area, as these are often driven out by commercial and foreign varieties in many homes and gardens.

Helping to preserve many species of butterflies that are threatened by the ongoing destruction of their habitat.          

Enjoying some of nature's most beautiful creatures by attracting them and nurturing them around your home.

Attracting butterflies into your garden is not difficult.

Butterflies are equipped with a finely tuned and highly sensitive sense of smell. If you plant the right flowers they will come and make your garden their home.

Butterflies can identify their favorite plants from miles away and travel for hours to taste the nectar of the flowers. They will lay eggs and remain nearby as long as you tend to your garden, keeping it healthy and blooming. In fact, you will be surprised to learn that the butterflies will probably arrive within only a few hours of the season's first flowers! It isn't difficult to make your backyard home to dozens at a time, giving you hours of enjoyment and helping the environment at the same time.

 Even a planter attached to the window sill can bring you several butterflies at a time. They may live nearby in a park or on a neighborhood tree and use your flower box as their primary source of food, dropping by for a snack several times a day. With the right selection of flowers, you may even be surprised to find a few caterpillars as well!

 What to plant to attract a specific butterfly:

The selection of the right plants is the key to the success of your butterfly garden. Primarily, flowering nectar bushes and clumps of impatiens and the like are favorite haunts for these colorful creatures. The butterflies suck out the nectar as food, traveling from flower to flower, carrying pollen with them. This close relationship is one of nature's finest natural cycles. With careful plant selection, you can be assured of attracting butterflies for much of the year.

Not only are butterflies attracted to specific flowers, but they also seem to favor specific colors, another factor which should be considered as you select your plants. For instance, yellow Sulphur butterflies prefer yellow cassia, which affords them excellent camouflage among the flowers. This relationship is two-fold, in that the yellow cassia is also the Sulphur caterpillars' favored food.

The growth cycle of the butterfly, from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally, to the emergence of a full-fledged butterfly takes only a few short weeks.

You should also consider the needs of the caterpillars as you sketch out your plan. Adult butterflies that frequent your garden will make it their lifelong home if they have a ready place to lay their eggs.

Caterpillars are fussy eaters, so you will have to include the specific types of leafy green vines, shrubs, and trees that will like. Many species depend on a single plant type for their caterpillar food source. As a result, an adult butterfly will spend hours carefully selecting a specific leaf on the plant that will be best for the newborn caterpillars. Include the right caterpillar plant in your garden and you have the perfect invitation for long term residency. It's as easy as that!

Butterflies and Plant Foods:

    The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

           Favorite Flowers: Butterfly weed, phlox, clover, and thistle

          Caterpillar Plants: Carrots, parsley, dill, and celery

           Common Range: Southeast, Desert Southwest, Midwest, New England

     The Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

           Favorite Flowers: Butterfly bush, lilac, honeysuckle, and butterfly weed

           Caterpillar Plants: wild cherry, willow, cottonwood, and tulip-poplars

           Common Range: Nationwide, except Pacific Coast

     Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

           Favorite Flowers: Aster, goldenrod, phlox, and clover

           Caterpillar Plants: Clover and alfalfa

           Common Range: Nationwide, except Florida, Texas, and California

     Checkered White (Pontia protodice)

           Favorite Flowers: Aster, butterfly weed, and centaury

           Caterpillar Plants: Mustard, turnips, cabbages, and bee plant

           Common Range: Nationwide, except for western Washington State

      Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

           Favorite Flowers: Aster, butterfly weed, and centaury

           Caterpillar Plants: Dogwood, viburnum, New-Jersey-tea, and blueberry

           Common Range: Nationwide, except for south and central Texas

      Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

           Favorite Flowers: Lantana, impatiens, shepherd's needle, and thistle

           Caterpillar Plants: Passion vines

           Common Range: Desert Southwest, Southeast, Wisconsin, California

       Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

           Favorite Flowers: Thistle, aster, and gloriosa daisy

           Caterpillar Plants: Aster

           Common Range: Nationwide, except Pacific Coast

       Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

           Favorite Flowers: Aster, coreopsis, knapwee, and chicory

           Caterpillar Plants: Plantain, snapdragon and toadflax

           Common Range: Nationwide, except High Plains

Other Butterflies and their plant foods regions:

         American Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

            Favorite Flowers: Butterfly weed, goldenrod, yarrow, and buttercup

            Caterpillar Plants: Sheep sorrel and curled dock

            Common Range: Midwest, New England

         Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

             Favorite Flowers: Milkweed, lantana, lilac, cosmos, goldenrod and zinnia

             Caterpillar Plants: Milkweed

             Common Range: Nationwide

         The Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

              Favorite Flowers: Honeysuckle, lantana, azalea, butterfly weed

              Caterpillar Plants: Spicebush and sassafras

              Common Range: Southeast, Desert Southwest, Midwest, New England

         The Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

              Favorite Flowers: Lantana, zinnia, butterfly bush, lily-of-the-nile

              Caterpillar Plants: Carrot, fennel, anise, parsley

              Common Range: High Plains, Pacific Coast

        The Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

              Favorite Flowers: Honeysuckle, azalea, goldenrod, orange trees

              Caterpillar Plants: Citrus trees, including oranges

              Common Range: Southeast, Desert Southwest, Midwest

        European Cabbage Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

              Favorite Flowers: Lantana, impatiens, marigold, mint, and dandelion

              Caterpillar Plants: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, and nasturtium

              Common Range: Nationwide

        Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)

              Favorite Flowers: Shepherd's needle

              Caterpillar Plants: Senna (cassia)

              Common Range: Desert Southwest, Southeast, Midwest

        Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

              Favorite Flowers: Lantana, bougainvillea, hibiscus, and morning glory

              Caterpillar Plants: Senna (cassia)

              Common Range: Desert Southwest, Southeast, Midwest

        Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

              Favorite Flowers: Goldenrod, milkweed, clover, and winter cress

              Caterpillar Plants: Hibiscus, clover, mallow, and vetch

              Common Range: Nationwide

        Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

              Favorite Flowers: Butterfly weed, clover, shepherd's needle, and milkweed

              Caterpillar Plants: Violets, passion vine, and stonecrop

              Common Range: Desert Southwest, Southeast, High Plains, Midwest, New England

        Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

              Favorite Flowers: Gloriosa daisy, thistle, verbena, and butterfly weed

              Caterpillar Plants: Violets

              Common Range: High Plains, Midwest, New England, Washington and Oregon

        Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

              Favorite Flowers: Aster, cosmos, thistle, and buttonbush

              Caterpillar Plants: Thistle, mallow, and hollyhock

              Common Range: Nationwide

       Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

              Favorite Flowers: Zinnia, honeysuckle, butterfly weed, joe-pyeweed

              Caterpillar Plants: Locust

              Common Range: Nationwide, except for southern Texas, Arizona, and Nevada

        Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

              Favorite Flowers: Aster, fleabane, knapweed, and shepherd's needle

              Caterpillar Plants: Mallow and hollyhock

              Common Range: Nationwide

        Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

              Favorite Flowers: Statice, aster, lantana, marigold, and ironweed

              Caterpillar Plants: Bermuda grass and crabgrass

              Common Range: Southeast, Desert Southwest, Midwest, California

        Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)

              Favorite Flowers: Marigold, aster, butterfly weed, and buttonbush

              Caterpillar Plants: Bermuda grass and crabgrass

              Common Range: Southeast, Desert Southwest, Midwest, California

Visit us again for new and updated facts and information.

 

 

 

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Last modified: November 01, 2003