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-   -   A Butterfly Garden for Milkweed (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/butterflies-moths/5369-butterfly-garden-milkweed.html)

NEWisc 03-01-2010 04:49 PM

A Butterfly Garden for Milkweed
A few months ago I started a thread on butterfly host plants. In that thread I said I would like to get involved in a project with one of the members here that is planning on starting a butterfly garden. Milkweed has graciously volunteered her yard.

So for the next couple of weeks or so, we are going to be working in this thread to see if we can come up with a butterfly garden that any butterfly would be happy to call home.

We are going to try to go through our project in a systematic way such that it might serve as a model or worksheet for anyone else planning a butterfly garden.

This is our starting plan:
  • 1. Determine which butterflies are in Milkweed's area.
  • 2. Narrow the list of possible butterfly species to those that can reasonably be expected to come to this butterfly garden.
  • 3. From the narrowed list of butterfly species, generate a list of possible native host plants.
  • 4. Narrow the list of native host plant species to those native to Milkweed's area.
  • 5. Generate a list of native nectar plants suitable for Milkweed's butterfly garden. We'll try to achieve a list of plants that will provide continuous nectar flowers from spring to fall.
  • 6. Find some sources for the host and nectar plants.
  • 7. Explore some possible extras - a puddling spot, identification books and websites, etc.

biigblueyes 03-01-2010 05:36 PM

Ohhhh, step by step instructions.


Calliandra 03-01-2010 11:52 PM

I like this idea! You can get feedback and advice at each phase; and then after the thread is built, it will be a step-by-step guide for new gardens.

We should have a whole forum for "garden case studies". Oh wait... that's kind of what a blog is, and we already have those. Hmmm. Never mind. Cool thread, though.

milkweed 03-02-2010 11:11 AM

First of all, I live in Marion County, Indiana. The five years that I've been here the butterflies or caterpillars that I've seen, recognized and remembered where: Monarchs, Eastern swallowtail, and tomato hornworms. I don't know if I want to encourage the last one. LOL

I live in a new housing addition with a handful of mature trees but plenty of small trees. Honeylocust, red maple, crabapples (Asian) and evergreens (non-native).

So even though Marion County, Indiana was originally cover in a beech/maple forest; we'll need to look at native plants that take full sun.

Equilibrium 03-03-2010 12:21 AM

I have some reference manuals. You helped me so I'll help you too... right after somebody determines and nails down the list of butterflies in your area. ;) Way cool project. It's like having your own team of project planners.

MrILoveTheAnts 03-03-2010 02:27 AM

I know it sounds odd but why not start where you'll likely have the least success. The Xerces Society Red List of Butterflies and Moths. All of these species are listed under the Endangered Species Act.

NEWisc 03-03-2010 03:30 AM

1. The Complete List of Butterflies
OK, Using Milkweed's location, first let's get the list of butterflies that have been documented in Indiana:
Map Search | Butterflies and Moths of North America

Clicking on Indiana gives us this list of butterflies:

Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
Golden Banded-Skipper (Autochton cellus)
Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)
Confused Cloudywing (Thorybes confusis)
Hayhurst's Scallopwing (Staphylus hayhurstii)
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo)
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)
Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis)
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)
Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius)
Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius)
Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)
Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)

Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae)
Swarthy Skipper (Nastra lherminier)
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)
Powesheik Skipperling (Oarisma powesheik)
European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Ottoe Skipper (Hesperia ottoe)
Leonard's Skipper (Hesperia leonardus)
Cobweb Skipper (Hesperia metea)
Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus)
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
Long Dash (Polites mystic)
Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet)
Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan)
Byssus Skipper (Problema byssus)
Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok)
Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon)
Mulberry Wing (Poanes massasoit)
Broad-winged Skipper (Poanes viator)
Black Dash (Euphyes conspicua)
Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion)
Dukes' Skipper (Euphyes dukesi)
Two-spotted Skipper (Euphyes bimacula)
Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna)
Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon)
Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
Bell's Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes belli)
Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)
Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Swallowtails (Papilioninae)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Whites (Pierinae)
Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Mustard White (Pieris oleracea)
West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis)
Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia)
Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

Sulphurs (Coliadinae)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea)
Little Yellow (Pyrisitia lisa)
Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

Harvesters (Miletinae)
Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)

Coppers (Lycaeninae)
American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)
Bog Copper (Lycaena epixanthe)
Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
Dorcas Copper (Lycaena dorcas)

Hairstreaks (Theclinae)
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios)
Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus)
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici)
Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)
Southern Hairstreak (Satyrium favonius)
Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)
Acadian Hairstreak (Satyrium acadica)
Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorus)
Edwards' Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii)
Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)
Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)
Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)

Blues (Polyommatinae)
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
Spring Azure (Celastrina "ladon")
Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)
Dusky Azure (Celastrina nigra)
Appalachian Azure (Celastrina neglecta-major)
Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)
Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola)
Melissa Blue (includes Karner Blue) (Plebejus melissa)

Metalmarks (Riodinidae)
Northern Metalmark (Calephelis borealis)
Swamp Metalmark (Calephelis muticum)

Snouts (Libytheinae)
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)

Milkweed Butterflies (Danainae)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Queen (Danaus gilippus)

Longwings (Heliconiinae)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Diana (Speyeria diana)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia)
Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)

True Brushfoots (Nymphalinae)
Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone)
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Harris' Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii)
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
Tawny Crescent (Phyciodes batesii)
Baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton)
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)
Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus)
Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Admirals and Relatives (Limenitidinae)
Red-spotted Purple or White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
'Astyanax' Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Leafwings (Charaxinae)
Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria)

Emperors (Apaturinae)
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)

Satyrs and Wood-Nymphs (Satyrinae)
Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon)
Creole Pearly Eye (Enodia creola)
Eyed Brown (Satyrodes eurydice)
Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia)
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
Mitchell's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii)
Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

And just for a little variety, we'll also take a look at some of the big colorful moths and the Sphinx and Hawkmoths:

Buck and Io Moths (Hemileucinae)

Io moth (Automeris io)

Giant Silkworm Moths (Saturniinae)
Luna moth (Actias luna)
Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
Tuliptree silkmoth (Callosamia angulifera)
Promethea silkmoth (Callosamia promethea)
Cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia)

Sphinx Moths, Hawkmoths (Sphingidae)
Sphinginae (Sphinginae)
Walnut sphinx (Amorpha juglandis)
Elm sphinx (Ceratomia amyntor)
Catalpa sphinx (Ceratomia catalpae)
Hagen's sphinx (Ceratomia hageni)
Waved sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa)
Pawpaw sphinx (Dolba hyloeus)
Northern pine sphinx (Lapara bombycoides)
Ash sphinx (Manduca jasminearum)
Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata)
Carolina sphinx (Manduca sexta)
Modest sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta)
Small-eyed sphinx (Paonias myops)
Twin-spotted sphinx (Smerinthus jamaicensis)
Canadian sphinx (Sphinx canadensis)
Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis)
Hermit sphinx (Sphinx eremitus)
Franck's sphinx (Sphinx franckii)
Laurel sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae)
Clemen's sphinx (Sphinx luscitiosa)

Macroglossinae (Macroglossinae)
Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis)
Virginia creeper sphinx (Darapsa myron)
Hydrangea sphinx (Darapsa versicolor)
Lettered sphinx (Deidamia inscriptum)
Achemon sphinx (Eumorpha achemon)
Pandorus sphinx (Eumorpha pandorus)
Snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)
Hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)
White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata)
Fig sphinx (Pachylia ficus)
Abbott's sphinx (Sphecodina abbottii)

Now if we really wanted to zero in on Marion County, we could do that by clicking on that county on the map or using the drop down menu. But if some butterfly enthusiast hasn't been in Marion County documenting butterflies, there could be a lot of butterflies that would be overlooked. Hamilton County, just north of Marion County, is a good example. The list for Hamilton County is very short:
Map Search | Butterflies and Moths of North America

So let's use the state list as the starting point. We can click on each butterfly in that list to see where they have been reported in the state, and get a little information on their life cycle, etc.

We could also do this with a good butterfly book, but I think this is a much easier way.

In the next post we'll start narrowing down the list to those species that we can reasonably expect to attract to Milkweed's garden.

Assuming that's OK with you Milkweed?

milkweed 03-03-2010 11:06 AM

:mindblowing Wow what a long list!

Right, on to the next step.:bounce

NEWisc 03-03-2010 12:04 PM

Equilibrium - Please keep those references handy. :)

MrILoveTheAnts - I think the one's listed for IN in your link will be in the list from the Butterfly and Moth's website, but I'll double check. Good idea to give those a little special attention. They are rare, so it's a long shot, but it would be a special treat to help out those species.

First of all, I live in Marion County, Indiana. The five years that I've been here the butterflies or caterpillars that I've seen, recognized and remembered where: Monarchs, Eastern swallowtail, and tomato hornworms. I don't know if I want to encourage the last one. LOL
So we've already got some definite winners - great! I think that tomato hornworm may be in the list of moths. It may be one of those that is commonly referred to as hummingbird moths. Hummingbird moths are actually kind of cool - maybe we can come up with a strategy for them that will still leave you with plenty of tomatoes. :)

milkweed 03-03-2010 12:21 PM


I've looked at the the butterflies on the Red List. Only one is found in my area Calephlis borealis; Northern Metalmark.

Unfortunately I'm not able to accommodate it habituate.
Habitat: Open woodland streams near serpentine, shale, or limestone barrens.

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