The colors and animation these insects offer is reason enough to invite them to your gardens.
However, their life history, behavior and ecology are just as fascinating.
The science of insect study is called entomology and some entomologists specialize in these winged marvels.
As a Wildlife Habitat Naturalist, I read and do research on the work of others.
I also allow myself time to do some studies of my own.
Stick around and you will learn a few facts and reasons for some of the beautiful coloration and the stages of their amazing life cycle
There is the drama involved in reproduction.
The stories behind other behaviors such as basking, hibernation and migration.
A garden is full of life and activity and once you discover a few important things, attracting flying flowers will be easy and possibly a must for your gardens.
It's more fun to watch when you know whether the winged wonders are courting, spying or sparring.
Maybe they are looking for a place to lay their eggs or a nice sunny location.
These insects don't have a nose, they smell and taste with their feet, antennae and other parts
of their body.
Their tongue called the proboscis, works much like a straw. It uncoils and probes deep into
flowers and fruits to sip up the needed nectar.
When you understand more, you will discover the best ways to attract them to
More than 700 species of butterflies inhabit North America.
Though most of them seldom appear in our gardens, much depends on its range and geographical locations.
There are limiting factors including latitude, altitude, climate, competition and food sources.
The most important factor is suitable habitat: the combination of plants, sun, water, shelter and other factors that they need to survive.
Some have restricted areas like the Mission Blue. This little butterfly is limited to a single mountain in the San Francisco area.
Another endangered species is Karner Blue.
Though its range is more expansive, it depends totally on the wild blue lupine as a host plant.
As these wild flowers disappear from habitat destruction, so do they.
Most of these beauties that visit our gardens, however have extensive ranges and are well adapted to a range of territories
Many have expanded their range because of disrupted habitats and fortunately, our gardens
have come to the rescue for some like the Black Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Monarchs,
and many more.
Scientists classify habitats in many ways.
There are broad categories such as meadows, forests and deserts.
There are specific habitats such as riverside willow thickets.
Plants are an important component to a habitat and your garden.
Host plants of a species are plants that the caterpillars species feed upon and are often
If these plants aren't available, there will not be a next generation of certain butterflies.
Some are choosy about their source of nectar as well.
Some prefer certain rotting fruits, yet others may be attracted to tree sap.
Most insects are near sighted, but see in color and can see ultra violet colors that aid in
finding flowers as well as choosing a mate.