A newcomer to the yard this year is this White Tipped Black Moth (Melanchroia chephise).
He is very small and active and difficult to photograph. He is on the buddleia with its very tiny blooms.
I didn't know what he was so I sent several pictures to our Brevard horticultural agent, Sally Scalera, and she was able to identify him for me.
This moth lays its eggs on the snow-on-the-mountain bush. It just so happens, I have 5 new snows planted in my yard and this is probably what drew him in.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is also a first-time visitor to the yard. It spends most of its life in the southern states and may produce two broods a year. I captured this beauty in the citrus tree right outside our office window. This one happens to be an adult male.
The female comes in two colors. One is yellow like the male, the other is blue. The dark form is found most often in the southern parts. According to info I found on the web, this darker version of the swallowtail is more commonly found in areas also inhabited by the poisonous Pipevine swallowtail, which it seems to mimic.
And, I found that partuclarly interesting because my neighbor has planted a Dutchman's Pipe plant just for the Pipevine swallowtail. I, too, have planted two of these plants for the same reason. My neighbor said at one time they had lots of caterpillars on the plant, but now there is only one or two. I have read that parasitic wasps are tough on these caterpillars.
This is the Gold Rim aka Tailless Swallowtail (Polydamas lucayus) that visited the yard one sunny afternoon. And, yet another butterfly that never stops moving.
This is the butterfly that likes the dutchman's pipe. The plant does have some odor to it, and this is what the butterflies scent so they know where they are. With too many of them, your plant can become leafless in a hurry. Fortunately, it's a fast growing vine. You can read more about this butterfly on the University of Florida website.
The butterfly looks totally different when viewed from the back comapred to the front. Butterfly ID is not always easy. When I go to the 'net to check out a species, I will find many different butterflies given the same name. I find it much safer to send my pictures to Sally Scalera and if she isn't familiar with them, she sends them on to UF.
I like the second photo of the butterfly flying away. In fact, I almost missed him. But, I like the antenna and the proboscis in its perfect curl.
The Great Purple Hairstreak isn't really purple, doesn't have hair and doesn't streak from flower to flower. I do wonder where some of their names come from!
According to UFL's IFAS site, the great purple hairstreak, Atlides halesus (Cramer), is one of our most beautiful southern butterflies. Although it is most commonly known as the great purple hairstreak, it has no purple on it. The brilliant iridescent scales on the upper surface of the wings from which it gets its name are blue not purple.
At any rate, you see he has a bit of a tail. When I first saw him I thought a smaller butterfly was attached to his hind end. But, no. That hind wing has two black tails and they are the hairstreaks. When the butterfly is threatened he wiggles the hairstreaks, which make the intruder think that's his head. This allows the butterfly to make a break for freedom. Even if he loses the hairstreaks, he's still alive to flutter anew.
Larvae feed only on plants of the parasitic mistletoe and that's why they like my neighborhood. Several of the oaks here have lots of mistletoe in them.
The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) flows through Central Brevard in the spring and again in the Fall when they return to their southernmost home. My buddleia was in full bloom and certainly got their attention. I did find one caterpillar at the end of May, but only for two days. Then he disappeared. However, the monarch larvae feed on a poisonous plant, the common milkweed, and that makes them the same, so I don't know what finished him off.
One of the prettiest butterflies, in my opinion, is the Spicebush Swallowtail (Papillio troilus). On the left, he's also at the buddleia. At right, he's supping on the agapanthus plant.