Found on our dill plant in our vegetable garden - Northglenn Colorado - July 17, 2014.
Caterpillars in this stage will soon form into a chrysalis and overwinter until the next spring. The adult will fly from March through September. The adult is a very good pollinator but unfortunately the caterpillars are hearty eaters. We moved this specimen away from our yard and will be watching for more 'youngins' to likewise relocate.
Red-Femured Milkweed Borer (Tetraopes femoratus)
Found in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, on September 7, 2008.
Per BUGGUIDE: The distribution of this species is unusual, covering virtually all of North America except the Atlantic Coast. The season is June to September. Larvae bore into stems and overwinter in roots. Pupation occurs in spring, and adults emerge in mid to late summer. Larval root feeding is unique to Tetraopes in the subfamily Lamiinae.
Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) - winter form
Sighted September 12, 2005 - location Washington state.
Per WIKIPEDIA: This butterfly is seasonally variable. The upper side of the summer forms hind wings are all black, whereas the winter forms hind wings are reddish-orange. The underside of both forms is striped with dark and light brown. There is a silvery comma mark in the middle of the hindwing in both forms. The Eastern Comma may be spotted in woods near rivers, ponds, marshes, swamps, and other water sources. This butterfly seldom visits flowers, but rather feeds on sap, rotting fruit, salts and minerals from puddling, and dung.
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
Found in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado on June 16, 2014.
Per BUGGUIDE: The name of this species is based on the pattern of the upper forewing resembles a yellow "dog face" bordered by black, with a black circle forming the eye. We did not get a phtograph of the open wings. View this characteristic on Bugguide. Lives in open areas such as roadsides and pastures. Species larvae feed on legumes (plants in the pea family) such as Alfalfa (Medicago sativa); prairie clover (Pentalostemon), Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens), False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), Soy Bean (Glycine max), Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens), Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea), and clover (Trifolium) species. Three flights in the southern states from May-June, July-August, and September-April. Northern colonists have one generation per year, or do not reproduce at all.
Vine Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha vitis)
Found while hiking Green Hayden Mountain, Colorado - June 2, 2014.
Per WIKIPEDIA: Eumorpha vitis, known as the Vine sphinx, is a moth of the Sphingidae family. It lives from Argentina north through Central America, the West Indies, and Mexico to southern Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida. Strays north to Nebraska.
The wingspan is 85?105 mm. It is similar to Eumorpha fasciatus fasciatus but distinguishable by the lack of a pink marginal band on the hindwing upperside and the single straight line on the forewing upperside.Adults are on wing from April to May and again from July to October in Florida, from July to September in one generation in the northern part of the range and year round in the tropics. They feed on the nectar of various flowers, including Vinca rosea. The larvae feed on Vitis species (including Vitis vinifera), Cissus species (including Cissus incisa, Cissus pseudosicyoides, Cissus rhombifolia, Cissus sicycoides and Cissus verticillata), Ludwigia decurrens, Ludwigia erecta, Magnolia virginiana and Parthenocissus species. There are green, yellow and purple colour morphs. Pupation takes place in subterranean burrows.
Checkered White - also known as Southern Cabbageworm - (Pontia protodice)
Sighted walking the Platte River Trail, Colorado - June 28, 2014.
Per BUGGUIDE: Adult: Sexually dimorphic. Males are nearly all white, with some dark spots and dashes on the dorsal side of FW. Females are have considerably more dark markings on the dorsal side. Found in the entire United States and southern Canada, but spotty in the East, and often irratic in abundance toward the north. Live in open areas. Season is year-round, depending upon climate and weather. Usually multiple-brooded with two or three broods in most of US but with continuous overlapping brooding some years in the Southwest. Usually rare or uncommon during winter even in mild climates. Larvae feed on Mustard Family (Brassicaceae), including Cabbage (Brassica oleraceae) as well as Caper Family (Capparidaceae) including Rocky Mountain Bee-plant (Cleome serrulata).
JUST FOR FUN: Can be extremely abundant, sometimes in the Southwest and Great Plains with thousands of individuals swarming flowers and puddles, and even coming to lights at night.
Can seem to disappear for a year or three during extreme drought, only to explode in numbers when rains come.
Vine Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha vitis)
JUST FOR FUN: View showing the proboscis curled, ready to seek new nectar.
European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula) - male
Found at Adams County Open Space, September 11, 2008.
Per BUGGUIDE: An identifying characteristic of this species..."no other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae." The male antennae are hooked whereas female antennae are mostly straight. Larvae are fed chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other insects caught by adults. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids. Only females are able to overwinter. Some "workers" of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts. There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas.
Zebra Longhorn Beetle (Typocerus zebra)
Found near Laramie Wyoming on July 26, 2008.
Per BUGGUIDE: Found on flowers in fields, roadsides, probably mostly adjacent to woodlands with pines. Larvae live in decaying pine stumps. Adults found on flowers, presumably take nectar and/or pollen.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) - female
Found in Adams County Open Space, Colorado, on October 1, 2012.
Per WIKIPEDIA: The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly.
The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its multigenerational southward late-summer/autumn migration from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico, covering thousands of miles. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains most often migrate to sites in California but have been found overwintering in Mexico sites. At the wintering sites in Mexico, the butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. Monarchs were transported to the international space station and were bred there. Males have scent-scale patches on hindwings, prominent when wings are open (which our specimen lacks). See the Wikipedia page for a good representation of the two genders. Eggs are laid singly on the underside of a young leaf of a milkweed plant during the spring and summer months. In both caterpillar and butterfly form, monarchs are aposematic?warding off predators with a bright display of contrasting colors to warn potential predators of their undesirable taste and poisonous characteristics. In both caterpillar and butterfly form, monarchs are aposematic?warding off predators with a bright display of contrasting colors to warn potential predators of their undesirable taste and poisonous characteristics. Monarchs are foul-tasting and poisonous due to the presence of cardenolide aglycones in their bodies, which the caterpillars ingest as they feed on milkweed. By ingesting a large amount of plants in the genus Asclepias, primarily milkweed, monarch caterpillars are able to sequester cardiac glycosides, or more specifically cardenolides, which are steroids that act in heart-arresting ways similar to digitalis. Large larvae are able to avoid wasp predation by dropping from the plant or by jerking their bodies.