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This blog post is the beginning of a catalog of backyard butterflies, to help you ID your fluttering friend. We will add to this all spring and summer, as we discover new butterflies in the garden. Come on this journey with us and learn something new!

Swallowtail butterfly (subfamily Papilioninae)

Butterfly ID: Swallowtail butterfly (subfamily Papilioninae)

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

The swallowtail butterflies (Papilio) are found worldwide except in the Arctic. They are named for the characteristic tail-like extensions of the hindwings, although many species are tailless. There are several different species, all with slightly different colouring. This one is a Tiger Swallowtail (Canadian TIGER SWALLOWTAIL).

Adult Food: Nectar from flowers.

Habitat: Northern deciduous and evergreen-deciduous woods and forest edges, as well as flower gardens.

kaleidoscope of Butterflies puddling!

A group of butterflies is often called a kaleidoscope, how psychedelic! is also called a rabble, flutter, or a swarm.

Butterflies need Nectar but they also need other minerals! By sipping moisture from mud puddles, or in this case a wet sandy beach, butterflies take in salts and minerals from the soil. This is called puddling, and is mostly seen in male butterflies.

This is the reason why we like going out into nature everyday, we never know what we will discover. Even in the exact same spots, things look different. There are different bugs, birds, wildflowers and in this case butterflies!

Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)

Wingspan 50 – 70 mm

Did you know that most butterflies have an underside that looks different than the open wing? The upper side is black with white median bands on both wings; tip of forewing is orange, making it recognizable by that feature. The under side is reddish-brown with white markings. Wing Span: 2 - 2 5/8 inches (5.1 - 6.7 cm).

This butterfly is one of the ”signature” butterflies of British Columbia’s west coast and interior. It seems approachable and often is seen by itself, and possibly is a solitary butterfly.

This butterfly is named after Pierre Joseph Michel Lorquin, a French naturalist who came to California from France during the Gold Rush, and made important discoveries on the natural history of the terrain.

Painted lady Vanessa cardui

The painted Lady Butterfly is the most widespread of all butterfly species. It is commonly called the painted lady, or formerly in North America the cosmopolitan.

credit Wikipedia: Lifespan: 15 – 29 days (From egg to death, In the wild) Scientific name: Vanessa cardui Order: Lepidoptera Family: Nymphalidae Phylum: Arthropoda Kingdom: Animalia

Butterfly Release ~ Painted lady Butterflies!

Our butterflies have emerged from their chrysalis today, so we released them into our backyard garden.

Butterflies need nectar-rich flowers but they also need host plants to lay their eggs. A host plant is a plant that the butterfly, eggs and the caterpillar are all safe on and can provide food for the butterfly larvae - allowing the lifecycle to thrive.

Each type of butterfly likes a different kind of host plant. The painted lady likes hollyhock, legume, thistle and mallo. We released them in the flower garden next to huge thistle bushes. We also have wild cherries and other trees that butterflies and caterpillars like.

Mourning cloak - Nymphalis antiopa

We rescued this one from a dark cold shed, when it was released into the sun it warmed up enough to fly away! Never touch a butterfly unless you are releasing it. Never touch their wings because it could harm them, they are very delicate.

Mourning cloak, known as the mourning cloak in North America and the Camberwell beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Europe, Asia and North America. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar.

Credit Wikipedia Species: N. antiopa Order: Lepidoptera Family: Nymphalidae Class: Insecta Phylum: Arthropoda Genus: Nymphalis Kingdom: Animalia

To attract butterflies, provide both nectar-rich flowers and host plants specific to the butterflies in your region. To further diversify your butterfly habitat, offer a fruit-feeding station. Some butterflies (like the painted lady, monarch butterflies and mourning cloak etc.) enjoy feeding off of fruit! Slices oranges is a great choice.

Large tree nymph

Description Idea leuconoe, also known as the paper kite butterfly, rice paper butterfly, large tree nymph, or in Australia the white nymph butterfly. It has a wingspan of 12 to 14 cm.

Credit Wikipedia: Species: I. leuconoe Order: Lepidoptera Class: Insecta Phylum: Arthropoda Family: Nymphalidae Genus: Idea Kingdom: Animalia

Butterflies like fruit juices from oranges, if you out out a plate of cut oranges it could attract them to you for observation!

Forest Giant Owl Butterfly

Butterfly ID: Caligo eu