Tag Archives: Butterflies and Moths

Favorites from 2022

Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
January: High surf crashes ashore in North Kohala. (link)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your 2022 Year-in-Review.’ See more responses here. Like last year, I’ve gone with a favorite photo from each month of 2021, with a caption and link to the post the photo first appeared in.

A Common Waxbill feeds on cane grass seeds
February: A Common Waxbill grabs a mouthful of seeds. (link)
A Monarch butterfly on purple bougainvillea flowers
March: A Monarch Butterfly on a bougainvillea. (link)
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle swims by
April: A Green Turtle swims by. (link)
Three cats resting in Hawaii
May: A trio of cats hard at work! (link)
A photo of an owl in a car wing mirror
June: How to keep birds off your car. (link)
A view of Green sand beach (Papakōlea) on the Big Island, Hawaii
July: The green sand beach near South Point. (link)
A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii
August: A White-tailed Tropicbird glides by. (link)
A Black-crowned night heron struggles o get out of an algae covered pond
September: A Black-crowned Night Heron struggles to get out of a pond. (link)
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
October: A Spinner Dolphin leaps from the water off North Kohala. (link)
Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii
November: A pair of Manta Rays swims toward me. (link)
A cloud forms over the site of the eruption on Mauna Loa , Hawaii
December: Mauna Loa erupted for the first time in 40 years, capturing attention and changing the weather. (link)

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

A Hawk Moth Caterpillar in Hawaii
A Hawk Moth Caterpillar in Hawaii

I found this hawk moth caterpillar crossing a walkway, and ushered it to safety. I’m not sure exactly which moth it is the caterpillar of, possibly Swinhoe’s Striated Hawk Moth (Hippotion rosetta) or Pale Striated Hawk Moth (Hippotion boerhaviae), both of which have been recorded in Hawaii and are very difficult to tell apart.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Yesterday, I posted about Aphis nerii aphids descending on a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea). After they were gone the plant continued to do well for a day or two. Then holes started to appear in the leaves and arcs along the edges.

Closer examination revealed a couple of tiny Monarch Butterfly caterpillars munching their way around the leaves. The Crown Flower is a favorite host for these caterpillars, so this wasn’t a surprise. We were also keen to provide an area for the Monarchs to thrive in. So we let the caterpillars be and monitored the situation.

What happened, not surprisingly, is that the caterpillars grew quickly. As they did so, the leaves of the plant diminished accordingly. I was gone for my weekend, and when I returned, the caterpillars had more than doubled in size. The plant though looked like someone had gone at it with a machete. We wondered if the caterpillars would devour the whole thing before they pupated.

When I returned to work after another weekend, the caterpillars were gone. As the Crown Flower was food for the caterpillars, so it appeared, the caterpillars were food for the numerous birds in the area.

The plant will likely recover from its ravishing and, once it’s bigger, it might be better able to accommodate the attentions of these caterpillars and in turn provide more cover for them from the birds. Or not! I will monitor the situation.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (see more responses here).

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Passing through

A Passion Vine Butterfly caterpillar in HawaiiA Passion Vine Butterfly caterpillar and fly in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Fleeting Moments.’ See more responses here.

The orange and black spiky thing is a Passion Vine Butterfly caterpillar, which I saw munching on a passion vine, as they do. The fly didn’t register with me until I processed the photos, but it was definitely a fleeting moment.

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower

Passion Vine Butterfly on a Zinnia Violacea flower in Hawaii

Following on from yesterday’s post about the lack of rain at Upolu, it occurred to me that I rarely see Passion Vine Butterflies there these days. They used to be all over the place, but now I’m lucky to see one or two. I don’t think it’s related to the lack of rainfall, but don’t know what other factors might be involved.

Lady beetles on passion vine leaves

Ants and ladybugs on a passion vine leaf

I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.

I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).

What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!