Late Arrivals 2022

I kept anticipating the arrival of the Gulf Fritillarys (Agraulis vanillae) in August. Purple Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata) was plentiful. My previous journal entries said that I thought they were late when they came in August 2020. But this year they did not come until late September. Reports on Facebook were similar, with some arriving just before mine and some just after.

It has been a long, hot summer. Our 90+ degree Fahrenheit days started in May (usually they start in June) and lasted until late September. It has also been very dry. This is a year to rival the drought of 2011. These factors may have delayed the butterflies. Surprisingly, passionvine grows despite the lack of water. We did get a little rain at the very end of August, enough to lift the burn ban, but it ceased again, which brought back the burn ban on October 5th. The passionvine was growing so thick, it was blocking the sun from the tomato plants I planted underneath, which I expected would only be partially shaded.

Jump ahead to the present. Gulf Fritillary reproduction is in full swing. Caterpillars have eaten the vines to the point that half the leaves are left. Autumn has finally sent its waves of cool fronts, with lows in the 50s and highs in 80s. The extreme fire danger signs posted in the local state park is an indication of the drought intensity. I keep my Red Salvia flowers watered. They are still a favorite food for the adult butterflies. Eastern Carpenter Bees have been coming to the Passionflowers to feed like normal. I think the Eastern Leaf-footed Bugs expected an earlier arrival of their prey also. Their population was larger this year in May than previous years. It has since dramatically declined and remains low. A reader of this journal noted an error, birds do not consume these caterpillars, so I am focusing more on the predatory insects.

One change we made this year: We added welded wire / cattle panels folded into a tunnel shape to serve as 3 trellises. It works wonderfully! Even with the extra weight of more growth. Replacing the bamboo each year was more work than I wanted to do. Instead, I am putting my efforts into actually doing the research on Native Passionvine that I promised myself I would do. To make myself do it, I offered to give a presentation on the subject to the local Master Gardeners at their November meeting.

Note: When I posted my observation of a recently emerged butterfly from a chrysalis, I noticed the scientific name is not Agraulis vanillae, but Dione vanillae. Google doesn't give me an answer about when this changed happened. It is an error on iNat?

הועלה ב-אוקטובר 12, 2022 04:12 אחה"צ על ידי redpenny redpenny






אוקטובר 4, 2022 11:52 לפנה"צ CDT


Freshly emerged from chrysalis on Purple Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata). Drying its wings.


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