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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Milkweed - Butterfly Magnet - Part I: Brushfoots

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Milkweed - Butterfly Magnet - Part I: Brushfoots

Karl Foord - Extension Educator, Horticulture

I was vacationing at Scenic State Park last month, and while driving down the road to Big Fork I saw a patch of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) along the roadside (Photo 1). I decided to stop and see if milkweed's reputation as a butterfly magnet was truly deserved.

Karl Foord

Photo 1: Milkweed Patch

I stood in the patch for an hour. It was like being in a natural butterfly house. The amount of activity was amazing. I would estimate there to have been at least 100 butterflies in this approximately 15' x 20' patch. There was also a dizzying array of butterfly species. I have attempted to record this diversity with photographs, and using Larry Weber's Butterflies of the North Woods, have identified 26 different species.

I will divide the findings into three articles; brushfoots, skippers, and a collection of sulphurs, coppers, hairstreaks, and day-flying moths.

Karl Foord

Photo 2: Monarch Adult and Caterpillar

Karl Foord

Photo 3: Admiral and Ladies

Karl Foord

Photo 4: Great Spangled and Atlantis Fritillaries - upper wing

Karl Foord

Photo 5: Great Spangled and Atlantis Fritillaries - under wing side view

Karl Foord

Photo 6: Aphrodite Fritillary and Common Wood-Nymph

Karl Foord

Photo 7: Crescents

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