We all love to think of the butterflies with the flowers. Such a lovely scene, colorful wings and colorful flowers together. Butterflies do like nectar, but they like other things as well. You might see them at rotting fruit, drinking the juice that collects. Or near a puddle, getting a drink of water. In this picture, they are enjoying scat. Excrement. Crazy, but there it is. I like to think that the poop in Arizona is so sweet that the butterflies like it. But in reality, many butterflies in many areas like poop with all its grossness.
I think this is the only picture of the Variegated Fritillary. It was rather common. There were not swarms of them like the Bordered Patches or the Sisters, but there were plenty.
As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, I studied Conservation of Natural Resources. I took a couple of entomology classes and became very interested in insects. After I graduated, I held several jobs working with bugs: in the fields of central California, the forests of Connecticut and Idaho, and the labs of Berkeley. Then I went to grad school and studied entomology at UC Riverside and UC Berkeley (back in the olden days when UCB had an entomology department). When my kids were little, I wanted to share my love of insects with them, so I started a butterfly garden before butterfly gardens were popular. Then of course, their teachers asked me to bring caterpillars into the classroom and I started doing classroom presentations. I do presentations in elementary schools, provide teacher trainings, teach adult school classes, and bring live insect specimens to garden fairs. My book is perfect for helping elementary school kids learn about butterflies.