So Many Butterflies...
 

So Many Butterflies!  

 

ms411
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November 16, 2015 10:15 am  

What's causing this great phenomena? Same thing happened about 5 years ago.


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quirion
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November 16, 2015 12:21 pm  

I saw the same thing happen 2 years ago. A few people called it Crucian Snow.
It's actually dying down here.(stx)


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OldTart
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November 16, 2015 12:45 pm  

What causes it? A popular hypothesis which has been well documented over the years is based on the (ancient) reality that everything is cyclical. It all has to do with a combination of varying ecological factors. This year our area saw an unusually long and very dry period followed by an abundance of rain, all of which are contributory. The same phenomena have been observed in the UK where the "Butterfly Count" organization has been recording data for many years on the waxing and waning of many different butterfly species.

You see the same thing with the mosquito population when, during dry spells, the eggs laid in the bush remain dormant but spring to life after heavy rains - and Deet sales soar!


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ms411
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November 16, 2015 1:17 pm  

Thanks, everyone. Addie Ottley mentioned it on his show this morning, and "Bronco" from St Croix called in with a detailed explanation, but I only heard the last half of it.

He said caterpillars are destroying lots of plant life, and to be on the lookout for the frangipani moth that will destroy the trees. They are beautiful but destructive!


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dxphy
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November 16, 2015 1:43 pm  

what is the name of the this type of butter fly?


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Alana33
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November 16, 2015 2:37 pm  

Hey, they have to eat, too.
I wouldn't say they destroy plant life as leaves do grow back.
They also pollinate plants just as bees do and are important to the ecology and environment.

The Frangipani Moth

http://susanleachsnyder.com/Conservancy%20Butterfly%20Garden/FrangipaniMoth.html

"They proceed through their metamorphosis to become the Giant Gray Sphinx moth. The damage done by the caterpillar is repaired by the moth as it flits from flower to flower spreading pollen, helping to perpetuate many flowering plant species."

q=Giant+Gray+Sphinx+moth&qpvt=Giant+Gray+Sphinx+moth&FORM=IGRE


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Spartygrad95
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November 16, 2015 2:47 pm  

The frangipani caterpillar and plumeria have a symbiotic relationship. The caterpillars eat leaves and their grass (poop) is fertilizer for plant and then the Sphinx moth pollinates the plumeria flowers. Cool stuff. The butterflies are definitely from the drought. The drought depleted numbers of their predators. I've noticed a large number of larvae defoliating Flamboyant as well.


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watruw8ing4
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November 16, 2015 2:50 pm  

I saw the same thing happen 2 years ago. A few people called it Crucian Snow.
It's actually dying down here.(stx)

We had a second explosion of the white ones starting last last week in the Southgate area.


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Alana33
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November 16, 2015 2:53 pm  

Beautiful aren't they!


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ms411
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November 16, 2015 3:26 pm  

Thanks everyone! So much fun to see them flitting about.

Does anybody know the names of the little white and yellow ones that are so prevalent now? Moths come out at night and butterflies are out during the day. I only know the zebra longwing and the gulf fritterly, but I'm not seeing many of those right now. Just the white and yellow for the most part. Some of the brownish ones are too small to see flying through the air, so unless you're very close to them when they land you might not notice them at all.


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OldTart
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November 16, 2015 4:34 pm  

Three years ago, the mango trees next to where I was then living dropped a lot of fruit on the ground where they piled up in a gradually decaying mound. For about a week there was an influx of HUGE brown nocturnal moths which I identified as the Black Witch moth. They were quite a sight to see - the first and last time I ever saw them. Their wingspan can reach to 17 cm!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascalapha_odorata


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rmb2830
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November 16, 2015 4:36 pm  

We periodically get caterpillars that totally devour our lilies almost overnight, and then lay the eggs that turn into butterflies. We have lots of lilies and get lots of caterpillars, and if we don't get to spray them the instant the bugs appear, it's all over. Does seem to have happened in Jan-Feb usually though.


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Spartygrad95
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November 16, 2015 5:28 pm  

They are in this family I was told

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismorphiinae


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ms411
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November 16, 2015 5:38 pm  

Thanks, Sparty. Those look like them, so I'll take it!


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Alana33
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November 16, 2015 5:40 pm  

Don't spray them.


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Spartygrad95
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November 16, 2015 5:48 pm  

Only cutworm/armyworm and sod webworm get sprayed


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ms411
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November 18, 2015 3:46 am  

Article on butterflies.

http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2015/11/17/butterflies-abound


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AandA2VI
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November 28, 2015 6:51 am  

I believe they are Florida White's (Appias drusilla) - I've seen some other species in the mix too - saw a grass green morph yesterday. They are SOOO thick at my house - somewhat thinning now. At night on the side of the driveway it does look like snow sitting on the grass. Very cool.

My frangipanis are being eaten to the nub - but I know that next year they'll come back with ten times the bloom. Each worm will turn into a moth that will pollinate our yummy mangos and gnips. I have them at my gnip tree already - which is also COVERED with bees and makes my whole house small amazing. Anyone who wants gnips LMK - Its going to be insane - more blooms than leaves right now and its a giant tree.

I don't know why anyone sprays their yard here. SO BAD for like everything. Unless you hate the ocean and eating fruit - you shouldn't be spraying outside... or living here lol.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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East Ender
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November 28, 2015 11:16 am  

There was also this article: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/rain-plus-flamboyant-trees-equals-butterflies-1.1974096 which I found difficult to believe-flamboyant trees mark Christmas?


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OldTart
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November 28, 2015 11:19 am  

There was also this article: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/rain-plus-flamboyant-trees-equals-butterflies-1.1974096 which I found difficult to believe-flamboyant trees mark Christmas?

I saw that and gaped too. The flamboyants are well past their blooming height come December ...


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quirion
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November 29, 2015 10:36 am  

I believe they are Florida White's (Appias drusilla) - I've seen some other species in the mix too - saw a grass green morph yesterday. They are SOOO thick at my house - somewhat thinning now. At night on the side of the driveway it does look like snow sitting on the grass. Very cool.

My frangipanis are being eaten to the nub - but I know that next year they'll come back with ten times the bloom. Each worm will turn into a moth that will pollinate our yummy mangos and gnips. I have them at my gnip tree already - which is also COVERED with bees and makes my whole house small amazing. Anyone who wants gnips LMK - Its going to be insane - more blooms than leaves right now and its a giant tree.

I don't know why anyone sprays their yard here. SO BAD for like everything. Unless you hate the ocean and eating fruit - you shouldn't be spraying outside... or living here lol.

Definitely down to help with your gnips problem! Just say when and where!


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CruzanIron
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November 29, 2015 11:09 am  

Genips.


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