Monarch on zinnia

1 06 2015

Just uncovered this never-before-shared gem from my archives—overlooked in the cull of hundreds of butterfly images from the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD a few years ago.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MonarchLightPinkZinnia





Same time, last year re-post: Mating Monarchs

14 07 2013

Photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit; the blue/purple blobs in the background are Plumbago flowers

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the archives: Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

7 07 2013

A sampling of photos taken at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens over the past few years

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Kenilworth Collage 7232009KenilworthCollage2





Mating monarchs

13 07 2012

Photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit; the blue/purple blobs in the background are Plumbago flowers

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Red Milkweed Beetle

3 06 2012

Just a few facts that I’ve learned about the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus):

• They are part of the Cerambycidae family—Longhorn Beetles.

• Tetraopes, just like longhorned beetles, have antennae inserted in close proximity to their eyes, which is how they get their common name, “longhorned.” In the case of Tetraopes, it is more extreme so that the antennae actually split each eye into two (ouch!). So this little beetle actually has four eyes!

• Butterfly fans know that the Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeds on milkweed (as well as the milkweed leaf beetle), but Tetraopes are one of the few insects that can safely feed on milkweed.

• Males Red Milkweed Beetles are slightly smaller than females.

From wikipedia.com: The milkweed beetle, a herbivore, is given this name because they are generally host specific to milkweed plants (genus Asclepias). It is thought the beetle and its early instars (developmental stage) derive a measure of protection from predators by incorporating toxins from the plant into their bodies, thereby becoming distasteful, much as the Monarch butterfly and its larvae do. The red and black coloring are aposematic (from apo—away and sematic—sign/meaning, which is a warning coloration), advertising the beetles’ inedibility. There are many milkweed-eating species of insect that use the toxins contained in the plant as a chemical defense.

Who knew?! Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth—one of every five living species is a beetle! Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 300,000 known species worldwide, 30,000 of which live in North America.

Source: http://www.cirrusimage.com/beetles_red_milkweed.htm

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch on Purple coneflower

2 06 2012

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), photographed at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly on Egyptian Star Flowers

17 10 2011

Egyptian Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata) is a fall-blooming herbaceous perennial that is treated as an annual in my Zone 7 area. The cluster of buds open into small (1/2 inch at most) star-shaped flowers that are irresistible to butterflies and bees. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.