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Friday, August 17, 2012

My Ironweed has been busy

I know, that sounds funny, but I had some time to observe the Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) in my garden which has reached it's "maximum" height of 8' and is still growing.  My husband who has repeatedly stated that he does not like tall plants loves the Ironweed! At any rate, the insect population has been quite busy on this plant.   I found five species of insects on it in a five minute period. I did not get pictures of all of them, but I'll share what I found over the next few days.

 This guy is a Viceroy or (Limenitis archippus).   This large orange butterfly has black and white spots on the wings and looks very similar to the poisonous Monarch (Danaus plexippus). This is a classic example of Batesian mimicry, where a palatable species evolves to look like a poisonous one.  If you are a butterfly with a really short life span, looking poisonous seems like a great way to keep predators from munching on you.

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