Thursday in the Naturehood

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Painted Lady

We are accustomed to the annual Monarch migration in the late summer, early fall.  Not as familiar is the migration of the Painted Ladies!!  This pinkish-orange and black butterfly is probably the most common species in the word (with the exception of South America.)  In North America, the migration begins as temperatures climb in northeastern Mexico.  Larger numbers head north and northeast if seasonal rains are heavier than usual.  The factors contributing to their high populations during the summer include good food sources and lower levels of parasites, predators and diseases.  We often see their caterpillars among our thistle in the pollinator garden.  Needless to say they begin to disappear in August as the trek back to Mexico begins.  Unseasonably warmer temperatures in recent weeks may be altering their internal clock somewhat.  But all they need are a few stiff Northerlies, and they’ll be sipping Tequila before frost appears on the pumpkin.