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A medium-sized, orange and brown butterfly sits on a rock in a watering tray in early spring.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
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Beautiful Insects at CREC Orchard

Authored on
Jan 21, 2022
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I’m working on reports, especially for our haskap trials, but I thought I’d share some warm weather butterfly and moth pictures that I took this past year. I love working with plants, especially fruit plants, but I think my overall passion is “Biology”: the study of life. The interaction of living critters (plants, animals (that’s us-humans), insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses (ok, these aren’t living)) and their environment is completely fascinating to me.

There are a lot of opportunities these days to become ‘citizen scientists’ and kids will probably LOVE to take part in this. Here are some that I use: www.butterfliesandmoths.org , www.iNaturalist.org (and app) and www.bumblebeewatch.org (and app).

Some other helpful sites to identify butterflies and moths are www.butterflyidentification.org and https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/lawns-gardens-trees/butterfly-gardening-in-north-dakota/e1266.pdf where you can print the Butterflies of North Dakota ID pages from the PDF.

A medium-sized moth flies near purple flowers. It has a furry yellow and brown-banded body with clear wings edged in a dark color.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
July 19. Snowberry Clearwing moth
A medium-sized, dull, grey-brown butterfly feeds on purple flowers. It has two black spots with white centers, all ringed in yellow on the outer edges of the first wings.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
July 22. Common Wood Nymph butterfly.
A large green caterpillar as thick as a finger rests on a stick. It is bright green with a thin, vertical white line on each segment and a few dots of color at the edges of the lines. There are sparse hairs protruding from some of the dots.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
July 31. Polyphemus moth caterpillar.
A small, dull, grey-brown butterfly feeds on purple flowers. There is one small, white, irregular-shaped spot on each lower wing and a light yellow area on each upper wing.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
August 4. Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly.
A very large, tan caterpillar walks along a hand. It is longer than the pinky finger and almost as big around. It has darker tan specks over the whole body and three white spots that run at an angle on each segment.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
September 4. Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar. They come in two forms: green and brown.
Two pictures of a female, on the left, and male, on the right, Melissa Blue butterflies. The female is a dull brown with an outer band of orange at the wing edges. The male is a bright blue-purple color. On the undersides, both sexes are light grey with black and orange spots near the outer edges of the wings. The bodies of each sex have blue shading.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
September 8. Female (L), male (R) Melissa Blue butterflies.
Five brightly colored, large caterpillars rest on a wooden stick. They are black with both small and large white spots over their entire bodies. Older individuals have a line of red dots on their lower sides while younger ones have yellow dots. All have red horn-like tails and red feet. They are spectacular!
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
September 8. Spurge Hawkmoth caterpillars.
A small black and white butterfly rests on grass. It has a fuzzy, light blue body.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt
September 8. Common Checkered Skipper.

Finally, you can always learn more about the habitat needed to conserve butterflies and moths at https://xerces.org/endangered-species/butterflies

Kathy Wiederholt
Fruit Project Manager
Kathy.Wiederholt@ndsu.edu