Monday, 16 October 2017

Fall Leps

Leps or Lepidoptera is a term used to refer to the order of insects containing moths and butterflies.  Likely due in part to the warmer than usual fall, I have seen quite a few when out and about. 

This year was good for monarch butterflies.  I found more caterpillars this past season than I could even raise, a promising sign for a species facing many threats.  I did raise some this year and on short notice decided to purchase tags for the butterflies I was releasing.  Although many of the caterpillars in my care hatched into butterflies and were released before the tags arrived, I still ended up tagging 16 monarchs this year raised by my nephew and I. 

The size and position of the tag on the wing is such that it does not impact flight and can provide valuable information on the monarch migration cycle if they happen to be recovered.  I have done this once before a couple years ago, but only ended up tagging six, none of which were found.  It will be interesting to see what happens this time.

Milbert's Tortiseshell have shown up from time to time.
Not rare, but a lifer butterfly for me was finding this Bronze Copper.

I had a run in this fall with a lifer moth species, but not in the way I would have expected.  I pulled on a sweater that had been laying outdoors for some time only to feel a prickling up one arm.  It was the defence mechanism of one of these guys.

Apparently a Hickory Tussock Moth had decided to crawl into the sweater and was none too happy when I interrupted things.  It left me with an itchy prickling rash for a couple days.  Definitely a species to be cautious of if you come across one. 

Nice to take advantage of the mild fall weather while we have it.  Winter is on its way.


  1. Monarchs appeared to have a decent year.
    I missed Milbert's Tortoiseshell this year!

    1. I can relate. Common Buckeye seemed to elude me this year for some reason.

  2. You are doing great work with the Monarchs!