Subject: Our blooming Bugthusiest
Location: South West Manitoba, Canada
July 17, 2012 8:54 pm
Hi there! Just wanted to submit a couple of photos of my 21month old son’s first ”bug” catch & release. We had tons of these greenish brown caterpillars covered in little spikey things in our elm trees. So we captured three but could not pinpoint what they would become. One ended up cocooning in our bug box, so we kept them around to see what they would turn into. We found out today when the first on emerged! I believe they are comma butterflys. Unfortunately, we were in town when it happened, but hopefully I can get a picture of the other two emerging, that would be neat! Gorgeous little thing though, I was thinking it would just end up being a muddy brown moth or a pest or something hah hah! Nice surprise when we got home though! 🙂 Thanks for having such a great site btw!
Signature: Angela & Zach
Dear Angela and Zach,
In addition to having a gorgeous photograph of a newly eclosed Questionmark (the other punctuation species), your entry has that elusive human interest angle. If you want to perpetuate Questionmarks in your yard, you should continue to cultivate the plant upon which you found the caterpillars. According to BugGuide: “Adults take fluids from soil, rotting fruit, feces, carrion. Seldom, if ever, take nectar. Caterpillars feed on nettle, false nettle, elms, hackberry, Japanese hops.” In general, providing habitat for caterpillars is the critical component to having butterflies (and Moths). Adult butterflies are attracted to caterpillar habitat so that they can lay eggs. Newly emerged butterflies will also be found near the larval food source. Adult butterflies tend to remain where there is a caterpillar host plant, but they will also need to stray to good nectar areas as well as “rotting fruit, feces, carrion” in the case of your Questionmark according to BugGuide.
The photos of your Bugthusiast are very cute. We hope you are lucky enough to witness the eclosion stage of the metamorphosis process, undeniably the most dramatic moment of the Complete Metamorphosis cycle.