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A Butterfly's World
July 01, 2019

Happy Birthday Canada (July 1), a 152 years and going strong.

Happy Birthday United States of America, 243 years since the Declaration of Independence.

A little bit of history.

The United States of America is said to have an actual birthday on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution—the number specified in order for the Constitution to be in full and binding effect for all 13 former colonies.

July 4th is Independence Day, not a birth date.

Independence is something worth celebrating.

Independence, because Freedom isn't Free.

Our Forefathers and the generations since, many have bled and died to keep us free.

Think of that for a moment when you are at the beach, family gatherings, parades, cookouts, and fireworks.

Thank God First.

Then thank the millions that have served and continue to serve our nations to keep the free from the evil that is out there.

Stand up when your Flag marches by in a parade.

Put your hand on your heart.

Show some love and respect.

God, please continue to watch over our nations, even when we fail.

Summer is really here.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, high humidity (air you wear).

Like clock work, the Fireflies (lightening bugs to some), have arrived, to add some flash to the night hours.

The tree swallows have fledged, leaving the yard/sky a bit empty.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, high humidity (air you wear).

And no rain where I live.

Yes there has been rain the the Great Lakes Region.

However, Lake Michigan does, what she does.

She often beats down storms that come across the lake from Wisconsin, especially the wider expanse.

Yes, part of Michigan are still getting plenty of drinks.

This week, we explore a small portion on 'A Butterfly's World'.


(Eastern Tiger Swallowtail)

If you are reading this, than you are like me and enjoy the world of butterflies.

What's not to enjoy?

Okay, so a few larvae may chew some holes in some of your native plants.

Most of the larvae become food for many of your backyard birds.

The few that make it to adulthood will help pollinate many of your flowers and shrubs.

Not to mention the silent beauty the bless us with as they grace our yards and gardens.

But what is a butterfly?

Butterflies are the adult flying stage of certain insects belonging to an order or group called Lepidoptera.

'Lepidoptera' actually means 'scaly wings' in Greek.


Butterfly wings are transparent, covered by thousands of tiny scales.

Read more in A Butterfly's World.

This name perfectly suits the insects in this group because their wings are covered with thousands of tiny scales overlapping in rows.

The scales, which are in colorful designs unique to each species, are what gives the butterfly its beauty.

The scales are the powdery substance that rubs off when you touch a wing.

Like all other insects, butterflies have six legs and three main body parts: head, thorax (chest or mid section) and abdomen (tail end). They also have two antennae and an exoskeleton.

An exoskeleton is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body.

(Red Admiral)

Butterfly life cycle:

A life cycle is made up of the stages that a living organism goes through during its lifetime from beginning to end.

A butterfly undergoes a process called complete metamorphosis during its life cycle.

A true miracle of creation.

Only a Supreme Creator can do this.

This means that the butterfly changes completely from its early larval stage, when it is a caterpillar, until the final stage, when it becomes a beautiful and graceful adult butterfly.

The butterfly life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Butterflies are complex creatures, yet not as fragile as you might think.

Their day-to-day lives can be characterized by many activities.

If you are observant you may see butterflies involved in many of the follow activities.

To observe some activities, such as nectaring, drinking, puddling, courtship dance, mating, laying eggs, migration, and even hibernation,

(Anise Swallowtail Larvae)


The larval (caterpillar stage), and the adult butterfly have very different food preferences.

This is largely due to the differences in their mouth parts.

Both types of foods must be available in order for the butterfly to complete its life cycle.

Caterpillars are very particular about what they eat, which is why the female butterfly lays her eggs only on certain plants.

Caterpillars have chewing mouth parts, called 'mandibles', which enable them to eat leaves and other plant parts.

Adult butterflies are also selective about what they eat.

Butterflies can roam about and look for suitable food over a much broader territory.

In most cases, adult butterflies are able to feed only on various liquids.

They drink through a tube (straw), like tongue called a 'proboscis'.

(Hummingbirds lick with their tongue, butterflies suck.)


It uncoils to sip liquid food, and then coils up again into a spiral when the butterfly is not feeding.

Most butterflies prefer flower nectar, but others may feed on the liquids found in rotting fruit, in ooze from trees, in animal dung, and drinking from puddles.

Butterflies prefer to feed in sunny areas protected from wind.

Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet to help them find their host plants and locate food.

(Giant Swallowtail)

Butterflies live just a few weeks, usually:

In most cases, once it emerges from its chrysalis as an adult, a butterfly has only two to four short weeks to live.

During that time, it focuses all its energy on two tasks – eating and mating.

Some of the smallest butterflies, the blues, may only survive a few days.

Butterflies that overwinter as adults, like Monarchs and Mourning Cloaks, can live as long as 9 months.

These butterflies are adults, but not mature, or ready to mate.

Butterflies are cold-blooded and cannot withstand winter conditions in an active state.

Butterflies may survive cold weather by hibernating in protected locations.

They may use the peeling bark of trees, perennial plants, logs or old fences as their overwintering sites.

They may hibernate at any stage (egg, larval, pupal or adult) but generally each species is dormant in only one stage.


Another way that butterflies can escape cold weather is by migrating to a warmer region.

Some migrating butterflies, such as the painted lady and cabbage butterfly, fly only a few hundred miles, while others, such as the monarch, travel thousands of miles.

Monarch Migration, these butterflies are considered the long-distance champions of butterfly migration, traveling as many as 4000 miles round trip.

They begin their flight before the autumn cold sets in, heading south from Canada and the northern United States.

Monarchs migrate to the warmer climates of California, Florida and Mexico, making the trip in two months or less and feeding on nectar along the way.

Once arriving at their southern destination, they will spend the winter resting for the return flight.

Few of the original adults actually complete the trip home.

Instead, the females mate and lay eggs along the way and their offspring finish this incredible journey.

And it is time for me to finish this journey on A Butterfly's World.

Well, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought of the week.

God Bless.

"We must combine the toughness of the serpent
and the softness of the dove,
a tough mind and a tender heart."

Martin Luther King Jr.

A tough mind and tender heart.

Words to live by.

Similar words were spoken nearly 2,000 years ago by Jesus Christ.

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

Matthew 10:16

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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