Dateline: September 9, 2011*
The White Peacock butterfly (Anartia jatrophae) is one of the more prolific members of my garden crew at this time of year. I guess because of the winter freeze they were a little slow to return, but have comeback with amazing numbers now.
They are members of the Brushfooted Butterflies Family (Nymphalidae). Caterpillar hosts include Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri), Turkey Tangle Fogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) (or FRogfruit depending on what area of the country you are from), Ruellia spp. and Lippia spp. In my yard I have the Bacopa and Fogfruit.
Favorite nectar sources are Fogfruit and Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) where sometimes as many as 10 can be found in one area drinking in the sweet elixir. Its range covers Central and South Florida, Texas, Mexico and South America but it can occasionally stray north as far as North Carolina and Kentucky.
One of my favorites, it provides much entertainment as pairs will flitter around close to the ground chasing one another. I’ve yet to see a caterpillar of this species. They seem to hide themselves well which may explain why there are so many of them. Their predators can’t find them and neither can I!
*This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on September 9, 2011 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.