Butterflies of Lee County

Butterflies of Lee County (HM20QT)

Location: Fort Myers, FL 33905 Lee County
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Country: United States of America
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N 26° 41.59', W 81° 46.656'

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What are Butterflies
Butterflies and Moths are insects that belong to the order Lepidoptera. The Greek word for scale (lepid) and wing (ptera) is joined to mean scale-wing. Their body four wings, and six legs are almost entirely covered with tiny colored scales placed similar in shingles on a roof. The body consists of three segments.

The Abdomen contains digestive, excretion and reproductive systems. Small holes in the abdomen called spiracles provide needed air to the body, because the female body contains her eggs, it generally is larger.

The Thorax bears the six legs and two pair of wings. The feet have a claw for climbing to objects and tiny sensors to taste plants, assisting the butterfly to identify host plants on which to lay her eggs.

The Head has two projecting club-ended antennas for acclimation and smelling. For nutrients, the butterfly has a retractable coil like a straw called a proboscis. It is used to drink nectar from flowers, liquids from dung, rotting fruit or vegetation. The large compound eyes have multiple lenses that are able to produce a single image and see ultraviolet and visible light.

Butterfly or Moth

(A General Rule)
Butterflies: Fly during the day - Have club-ended antennas-
Are more colorful - The wings are together over the back.
The five major families of butterflies contain certain characteristics and behaviors used to identify them.

Moth: Nocturnal-Fly at night - Have feathery or thread antennas-Drab color-Wings are generally by their side.


The Four Transformation Stages of the Butterflies Life
Larva (Caterpillar)
Pupa (Chrysalis)

EggsSingle or clusters of fertilized eggs are laid on or near the host plant unique to that species of butterfly. The architecture of the eggs differs in each butterfly family. The single egg enlarged in the above photo resembles a cob of corn and is smaller then a pinhead. The larva develops inside the egg and nourishes itself on the egg yolk.

Larva (caterpillar) Once hatched the larva becomes a living, eating machine. Most species eat specific plants called host plants. The caterpillar's external skeleton must be shed several times as it grows. Each growth stage is called an instar. In its last instar-stage the caterpillar spins a silk pad to which it will attach itself. Releasing the front legs it swings down to resemble the letter J just before changing into a chrysalis.

Pupa(chrysalis) Metamorphous begins inside the hard paper-thin shell of the chrysalis. The caterpillars body fluids break down and reassemble to form an adult butterfly. This process often takes less than 2 weeks.
Adult After a time (days, weeks, or months)the chrysalis splits open and an adult butterfly emerges. It hangs there while the wings slowly unfold, as they are pumped full of the fluid hemolymph. The butterfly is now fully grown and only when the wings become dry is it able to fly. Butterflies are cold blooded and need the sun's warmth to elevate their body temperature to become mobile.

The average life of an adult butterfly is 2-3 weeks. Different butterfly species may have either shorter or longer lives. Butterflies that migrate or over winter as adults have extended life spans.

Zebra Heliconian
Florida State Butterfly
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charitonius)
Wing Span: 2.5 - 3.5 inches
Host Plant: Corky Stem Passion Vine
Family: Brush-Foots

Host Plant:
Passion Vines Passiflora, Suberosa & Incarnata

Wing Span: 3.5 inches
Host Plant: Green Shrimp Plant
Family: Brush-Foots

(Danaus gilippus)
Wing Span: 3 inches
Host Plant: Milk Weed
Family: Brush-Foots

Common Buckeye
(Junonia coenia)
Wing Span: 2.5 inches
Host Plant: Mangrove
Family: Brush-Foots

Orange Barred
(Phoebis philea)
Wing Span: 2.5 inches
Host Plant: Senna (cassia)
Family: Sulphurs & Whites

Black Swallowtail
(Papilio polyxenes)
Wing Span: 3.5 inches
Host Plant: Water Dewdrop
Family: Swallowtails

Painted Lady
(Vanessa cardui)
Wing Span: 1.75-2 inches
Host Plant: Thistle-Mallow
Family: Brush-Foots

(Danaus eresimus)
Wing Span: 3 inches
Host Plant: White Vine
Family: Brush-Foots

Gulf Fritillary
(Agrauls vanillae)
Wing Span: 3.25 inches
Host Plant: Corky Stem Passion Vine
Family: Brush-Foots

Cloudless Sulphur
(Phoebis sennae)
Wing Span: 2.2-2.8 inches
Host Plant: cassia
Family: Sulphurs & Whites

Red-banded Hairstreak
(Calycopis cecrops)
Wing Span: .75-1.0 inches
Host Plant: Wax Myrtle-Mango
Family: Gossamer Wings

Red Admiral
(Vanessa atalanta)
Wing Span: 2 inches
Host Plant: False Nettle

Fiery Skipper
(Hylephila phyleus)
Wing Span: 1.25 inches
Host Plant: Grasses
Family: Skippers

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)
Wing Span: 6 inches
Host Plant: Sweet Bay
Family: Swallowtail

Long-Tailed Skipper
(Urbanus proteus)
Wing Span: 1.5-2.0 inches
Host Plant: Legumes
Family: Skippers

Giant Swallowtail
(Papilio cresphontes)
Wing Span: 4.5 inches
Host Plant: Wild Lime
Family: Swallowtail

(Dryas Julia)
Wing Span: 3.25 inches
Host Plant: Stem Passion Vine

Ruddy Dagerwing
(Marpesia petreus)
Wing Span: 2.75 inches
Host Plant: Strangler Fig
Family: Brush-Foots
(Danaus plexippus)
Wing Span: 4.25 inches
Host Plant: Milk Weed
Family: Brush-foots

Great Southern White
(Ascia monuste)
Wing Span:2.5 inches
Host Plant: Saltwort
Family: Sulphurs & Whites

Cassius Blue
(Leptotes cassius)
Wing Span: .75-1.0 inches
Host Plant: Legumes-Plumbagos
Family: Gossamer Wings

Ceraunus Blue
(Hemiargus ceraunus)
Wing Span: .75-1.0 inches
Host Plant: Legumes
Family: Gossamer Wings

Zebra Swallowtail
(Protographium marcellus)
Wing Span: 4 inches
Host Plant: Pawpaw
Family: Swallowtails

(Limenitis archippus)
Wing Span: 2.75 inches
Host Plant: Willow
Family: Brush-Foots

White Peacock
(Anartia jatrophae)
Wing Span: 1.75 inches
Host Plant: Water Hyssop
Family: Brush-Foots

Spice bush Swallowtail
(papilio troilus)
Wing Span: 3.5-5.0 inches
Host Plant: Red Bay
Family: Swallowtails

Pine Vine Swallowtail
(Battus philenor)
Wing Span: 4.5 inches
Host Plant: Pipevine
Family: Swallowtails

Manatee Park
Donated by Nick and Aline Bodven
Photos & Art Work by Nick and Aline Bodven
HM NumberHM20QT
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, August 14th, 2017 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17R E 422640 N 2952687
Decimal Degrees26.69316667, -81.77760000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 26° 41.59', W 81° 46.656'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds26° 41' 35.4" N, 81° 46' 39.36" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)239
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers FL 33905, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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