Nature Finds: Life on a Sow Thistle


There are about a dozen blooming sow thistles right near the milking shed, and every day I have seen so much life on and around them.  There are at least twenty of these little butterflies at any given time.  For some reason the name Horace’s Dusky Wing comes to mind, but that could be completely wrong.  Perhaps Dusky-Winged Skipper is right.  See, that’s the problem with growing up as a Lepidopterist’s daughter. I have all these butterfly names floating around in my subconscious.

Here we found a Daddy Long-legs.

There were several of these striped insects.  I didn’t get a chance to count the wings, but I believe they were actually flies.

Also a lot of little hairstreaks.  These little guys rub their wings together when they land.  They have tails on the ends of their wings that look like antennae.  It is thought this is to divert an attack from a bird, lizard or insect to their wingtips rather than their head.

And last of all a pair of mating wasps was visiting on their honeymoon.  It’s too bad sow thistle is such an ugly plant!  Otherwise everyone would be planting it in butterfly gardens.  The weeds are always the best for insects.  When ever we go out with my dad and the Lepidopterist’s Society, they always stop at the strangest places – sides of roads, abandoned parking lots, etc.  Anywhere the weeds grow.

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