Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Skippers in the Garden

The Zabulon Skipper, Poanes zabulon, (sometimes called the Southern Dimorphic Skipper Butterfly on Echinasea Bloom

It has been a extremely strange May morning in my Texas garden. We have had strong southern winds and in the 90's for a couple of weeks. This morning we have very strong northern winds and it's back to 50 degrees out. I think the northern winds may have made all the plants finally stand back up straight. I caught this picture of a Skipper Butterfly this morning and couldn't seem to identify it. As you can see the color was almost a match to the Echinasea center, other than the rich golden yellow centers of the butterflies wings. He seemed as though he was specifically designed just for this flower. The centers are very sharpe and spiny on the Coneflower. . The butterflies body looked as though he was wearing armor. Very fasinating indeed! Well I called upon all my garden friends to help me figure out who he really was. My friend Andrea found his closest related cousin who is the Hobomok Skipper. They look almost identical. The key for this particular skipper was that the Hobomok is mostly found in the Northern portions of the U.S. And his cousin the Zabulon Skipper is found down here in the south. This is fun. There are like 3,000 different species of Skipper Butterflies. Some a quite exotic. I hope I get to see some this summer.

I found this fun website that is all about Butterfly food and the different species of Butterflies. They write that The top three nectar bearing food plants that butterflies love are butterfly weed, purple coneflowers and the New England Aster! If you plant all three of these plants, you will definitely be seeing a lot more butterflies in your yard! You can visit their site at

Tiny little unknown frog

As I headed over by the pond to see what I could find, I ran across this tiny little frog. He really seemed to wink at me before he hopped away. I missed my chance a a better close up shot. But I did get to look at him long enough to notice he had little froggie toes that looked like they belonged on a tree. His skin was ulta smooth as well. Beautiful colors of silver and gray. I guess the light sprinkles of rain from last night brought some folks outside. Next time I hope I get a chance at a better picture and maybe we can identify him too, because many frogs are near extinction.

Happy Gardening!!
Pammy


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