Butterflies at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Florida. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
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Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) photo by Mark Trainor Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia) photo by Gayla Kittendorf Though smaller, orange viceroys resemble monarchs and queens. It flies by flapping while monarchs and queens appear to glide. They have an extra transverse vein on the hindwing. Wingspan: 2.6 – 3.2 inches. Larval host plants are willows and sometimes poplars. Common Fall Butterflies of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Where Wildlife Comes First! The zebra longwing is Florida’s state butterfly. Usually not found in open areas, the zebra longwing prefers shaded areas. This tropical species it cannot endure cold temperatures. Wingspan: 2.9 – 3.5 inches. Larval plants are passion vine species. Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) photo by Teresa Darragh Abundant long-tailed skippers resemble a small swallowtail. A quick, low flight carries them between nectar sources; along disturbed edge. This butterfly migrates each fall to Florida. Wingspan: 1.5 – 2 inches. Larval host include legumes and caterpillars are sometimes considered a crop pest. Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) photo by Terresa Darragh Buckeyes are easily identified from the large eyespots which deter predators. Look for it in open, sunny locations with low-growing vegetation. Buckeyes cannot survive freezing temperatures and migrate south to overwinter along the Gulf coast. Wingspan: 5.5 – 2.7 inches. Larval plants are toadflax, false foxglove, plantain, and twinflower. Pollinator Resources: www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower www.naba.org www.kidsbutterfly.org http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/Index.html http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/ http://www.pollinator.org/ Field Guide to Butterflies of North America – Kenn Kaufman and Jim Brock Butterflies of Florida – Jaret. C. Daniels PO Box 68 St. Marks, FL 32355 www.fws.gov/saintmarks/ 850-925-6121 Please return this brochure to the box for others to use. Collecting or taking any plants, animals, or artifacts from federal lands is prohibited. Monarch courtesy Sandra Muldrow Long-tailerd skipper courtesy Mark Trainor Zebra Longwing courtesy Teresa Darragh Printing paid by St. Marks Refuge Association Butterflies are among our most admired insects. Their diverse color patterns help them identify mates as they fly about during the day, seeking energy from nectar-rich flowers. Moths, more active at night, bear plainer colors and usually depend on odor rather than color to locate mates. Because of our temperate and subtropical climates, Florida is home to more than 180 species of butterfly and 4,000 species of moths. Butterflies and moths have complex life cycles. Both feed on a variety of flowers but females lay their eggs on or near host plants specific for their caterpillars. Caterpillars cannot survive on the wrong plant so it is vitally important to make sure host plants are a part of your garden scheme. The caterpillar grows larger through about five stages or instars, shedding its skin after each stage. The final stage for butterflies is the pupa, or chrysalis; the miracle of metamorphosis begins. After a period of time, the pupa splits and an adult emerges. At this crucial time conditions must be right for the butterfly to unfurl and dry its wings. Then the cycle begins all over again. Homeowners can help all pollinators, and especially butterflies, bees, and moths, by planting native flowering and host plants and by limiting insecticide use. Monarch (Danaus plexippus) photo by Y Wang Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) photo by Virginia D. Craig Cloudless sulphurs are the most common sulphur in our region, where it flies most of the year with a strong, rapid flight. Migrating butterflies appear driven and rarely pause. Cloudless males are bright yellow above and females are variable greenish white, bright yellow, pinkish or orange. Wingspan: 2.2 – 2.8 inches. Larval food plants are Senna ssp. Adults migrate thousands of miles from Canada and primarily overwinter in one area in Mexico. Adults have a wingspan of 3.5-4” and exhibit slow and sailing flight. On the refuge they congregate along the coastline feeding on saltbush, goldenrod and dotted horsemint. Larvae feed on milkweed, where they acquire toxins which protect them and adults. The monarch migration story continues to unfold. You can help the monarchs by planting a WayStation of nectar and milkweed plants. Wingspan: 3.5 – 4 inches. Larval food plants are Mexican, white swamp, sandhill, and white vine milkweeds. Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) photo by Gayla Queen (Danaus gilippus) photo by Tom Darragh Queen (Danaus gilippus) photo by Mark Trainor Queens mimic monarchs in flight and appearance, but are more brownish than orange and lack the pronounced black veins. Queen caterpillars feed on milkweed. Queens fly all year in the southernmost areas in open habitat and may outnumber monarchs in Florida. Adults are toxic to some predators. Wingspan: 3 – 3.5 inches. Larval food plants are Mexican, white swamp, sandhill, white vine, and sand vine milkweeds. Kittendorf Fritillaries fly year-round in frost free areas and from spring to late fall elsewhere. This butterfly produces multiple broods. They are fast flyers well above the ground and like open spaces. Orange fritillaries are often mistaken for monarchs, queens, and viceroys. The distinct silver marks on their underwings earned their nickname of silverspot. Wingspan: 2.5 – 3 inches. Larval plants are passionvine species.