02 November 2009

White Mistflower Madness

These following pictures are here to remind me that I need to get some white mistflower (Ageratina havanensis), also called shrubby boneset.

This one is blooming on campus, and aside from the wonderful floral scent, it is attracting an amazing diversity of pollinators, including many not pictured here that were camera shy.

Giant purple hairstreak:

The monarch butterflies are migrating through to Mexico:

American snout butterflies have been migrating by the thousands and thousands over the past couple of weeks. There was a humongous stream of them going through downtown just about 2 weeks ago. A sight to behold:

These butterflies go into huge migrations when there has been a drought followed by a drought-relieving rain. The caterpillars feed on hackberries and prefer tiny new leaves, which come out after rain. So, the population explodes and the migration happens...

A colorful moth:

And a non-colorful moth:

A neat little fly:

And the shrub was just bouncing with honey bees.


The Curious Holts said...

My family and I lost count at THIRTY Monarchs on a big patch of fall aster the other day. I had no idea that some butterflies eat hackberry leaves. I KNEW they had a reason for being.

Caroline said...

Your colorful moth is an ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva punctella). In the larval stage, they are attracted to those awful Tree-of Heaven weed trees, often building big communal webs in them; they've also been known to infest tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. The moths are pretty, relatively harmless and serve as minor pollinators.

Lee said...

Thanks Caroline. That's fascinating. Here's a link to learn more about that pretty little moth. Too bad it's not serving as biocontrol for those Tree-of-Heavens!