My last butterfly walk of the season was last Tuesday. It turned out to be the perfect day because it was also the day of the nuptial flight of the termites. It was magical watching their wings glint in the sun. And the kids loved watching them come out of the ground and fly off. We also saw cabbage whites and skippers. I found a tiny cabbage white caterpillar and showed it to everyone. People so rarely see the tiny specimens and it is so nice when I can find them. Late in the walk, when only one person was left, we saw the Mylitta Crescent pictured here. Andy took the photo. Isn't it lovely?
Some of the American Ladies have now pupated. I kept them in a basket with netting to cage them in. This one pupated on the basket handle. I have read that this species can overwinter as a pupa or an adult. I hope it emerges soon so I can get a good picture.
I also read that the caterpillars eat Edelweiss. I wonder if I could grow that in my garden. Apparently it grows in Castro Valley, not too far away. Maybe I should try it.
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.