We enjoyed visits from a few new butterfly and moth species to our garden Monday evening. Luckily, I was able to capture a few photos of them.
The first new visitor I noticed was the Snowberry Clearwing Moth, which I discovered resting on a leaf of one of the Cal Wonder Orange Bell Pepper plants. The clearwing family are hummingbird mimics, although the Snowberry looks more like a large bumblebee. They are quite common in Central Texas and I’ve seen them a few times just at area nurseries. This one wasn’t shy at all, letting me get within a few inches to take photos. Unfortunately, I did not catch this moth in action. It is fun to watch them hover and nectar like a hummingbird. I was happy though, that this one sat still to pose for me.
Next I discovered the Horace’s Duskywing butterfly enjoying the purple trailing lantana. Judging from online photos, I am guessing that this particular butterfly is a male as it is less-mottled than photos I found of females. Duskywings are fond of oak trees and edges of forests and love peppermint flowers. Perhaps it was the peppermint and spearmint flowers that drew him in, but he seemed pretty content on the verbena.
As if saving the best new visitor for last, I was excited when I saw the Common Buckeye butterfly come over the fence to check out the trailing lantana. The Buckeye is a very distinguishable butterfly because of it’s colorful eyespots, which serve as a deterrent to prey. She appeared to be quite comfortable enjoying the spotlight, slowly opening her wings to display her beautiful coloration, holding them open for a moment, then slowly closing them again as if working the crowd! Still, she was wary of me. She didn’t let me get too close to take a picture, playing a game of “catch me if you can” when I got too close.
Not wanting to be left out, a bordered patch was also photographed dining on spearmint nectar (and dessert on the lantana):