At the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms exhibition, I receive a wide variety of questions about butterfly physiology. My favorite questions are ones that don’t have a substantiated answer, only theories posited by lepidopterists (or those who study butterflies and moths). I always enjoy these questions, since they are on the cutting edge of scientific … Continue reading Why do monarchs and other butterflies have metallic markings?
Want to help monarch butterflies? Be careful when selecting your milkweed. Not all plants that go by the common name of “milkweed” are the food that these butterflies need. Want to save the monarch butterfly? Plant milkweed. Pick up a free milkweed seedling at World Environment Day this Saturday, June 4. Milkweed is both a food … Continue reading Which Native Milkweeds Should You Plant for Monarch Butterflies?
Monarch butterflies have left their overwintering sites in Mexico and are heading back toward the Midwest, including the Chicago area. Unfortunately, far fewer monarchs will be making the northward flight this year and the chance to see large numbers of these beautiful butterflies in your garden or flying across a prairie is becoming less certain. Explore … Continue reading Trouble for Monarchs — But You Can Help
Did you know that one in every three bites of food you take required a pollinator visit? Pollination is essential for many of our favorite foods—from almonds to vanilla, and so many fruits and vegetables in between. The decline of pollinators around the world is threatening not only our food supply but also the function of … Continue reading Make Way for Monarchs
One day at Butterflies & Blooms, I noticed a crepuscular, cosmopolitan imago puddling in order to prepare for an upcoming lek. What did I just say? The vocabulary surrounding Lepidoptera can be very specific—and not so easy to understand. Let’s break it down, and go over some of my favorite butterfly and moth terminology (and learn some of the … Continue reading Speaking of Lepidoptera: Understanding butterfly vocabulary