What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to renew and rededicate the butterfly garden at the Alligator Creek campus of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center.
There is an interesting link between each photo....drag your cursor down to find them!
Volunteers from the Punta Gorda Garden Club and CHEC renewed and replanted the butterfly garden....specially designed for three species: Zebra Longwing, Gulf Fritillary and Julia.
Thomas Hecker, CHEC CEO, gave an interesting and informative talk about the garden and the butterflies about to be released.
All three species and their instars were released to the garden. There they found favored host plants: Corky Stem Passion Vine (Passiflora suberosa) and the showier Passionflower (Pasiflora incarnata). There is also an abundance of nectaring flowers...and pollen for the Zebras!
Tom explained that the three species to be released were all members of the subfamily Heliconiinae, a large group of tropical butterflies with similar habits, caterpillar food preferences and habitat.
Though farm raised, these longwings should do well at the CHEC garden.
If you want to see more tropicals, be sure to plan a visit to the University of Florida and the Tropical Rainforest there
Everyone ready for the release? Cameras at the ready!
Want to raise some butterflies at home? Here's a good source of information and tips.
Julia Longwing (Dryas iulia).
Photographing butterflies is fun....they come out in the sunshine, and "sometimes" spread their wings and hold still!
SW Florida is at the extreme northern end of the Julia's range. We have experienced some warmer winters, without frost, recently. Will we see more of this beautiful butterfly?
Makes one think more about climate change and how creatures adapt. I guess that is something to consider every day, not just on Earth Day.
Instars were also released.
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Zebra Longwing (heliconius charithonia). Florida's state butterfly
A couple of other visitors to the garden on Earth Day.
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste).
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
The ladies who made it all possible!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A GREAT EARTH DAY!
Lots more to see at CHEC Alligator Creek.