Friday, February 28, 2014

Sara and the fiddle(neck)

Photo by Ned Harris 2/12/2014

If you've been in the canyon lately, you've probably seen this butterfly and flower combination. Sara Orangetip butterflies nectar on Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia) flowers. They also nectar on plants in the mustard family. Their larvae eat mustard family plants; adult females lay their eggs on plants in that family.
In the insect world, generally speaking, adults have wings. If you see an insect with wings (like this butterfly), it's an adult. Adult are going to do what adults do, namely, reproduce. That's the end of their life cycle as individuals.
Butterflies go through 'complete' metamorphosis: eggs hatch to larvae (caterpillars); larvae eat and grow, then pupate. In the pupa stage, they cover themselves, take themselves completely apart, and rebuild. They emerge from the pupa (cocoon, chrysalis) as adults. With wings.

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