August: Butterflies

Background

Butterflies flutter-by in August!  Butterflies are insects (see June). They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They can be as large as the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing that is over 12 inches long! Or as small as small as the Western Pygmy Blue, only 0.5 inches long!

Butterfly wings are covered in tiny scales. They help protect the membrane under them. Touch lightly as you do not want to tear the membrane. A light touch with little loss of scales is ok.

Butterfly wing scales

A butterfly goes through metamorphosis, which literally means “change form.” They have four stages of life: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult.

The first butterflies you see in this area come out late March, early April. These butterflies survive the long cold winter as an adult, like the Question Mark on the left and the Mourning Cloak on the right.

Others you won’t see until it gets warm out, because they are either flying north like the Monarch and Painted Lady, or emerging from their chrysalis like the Swallowtails.

Activities

  • If you don’t have a garden space, you can make butterfly feeders. Some like good ole’ rotten fruits (left), but many also enjoy sugar water soaked in sponges (right).
  • Eat like a butterfly – observe how butterflies eat. They have a long tongue called a proboscis that they unroll and drink through like a straw. You can find instructions for this activity here.

Eat like butterflies

 

Books

Crafts

Remember to make it symmetrical!

Remember to make it symmetrical!

 

Tyler Exploration

  • Tyler’s Butterfly House opens June 28, but August is a wonderful time of year to visit. The Butterfly House is stocked with local butterflies that volunteers catch right on our property. Look for eggs, chrysalises, caterpillars and adults. You may even see a frog or two in the pond.
  • The butterfly house is manned by volunteer docents, don’t be afraid to ask them questions–they love to talk!
  • To see butterflies at Tyler outside the house, go towards the meadows. One is by the maintenance building and the other is the meadow maze.

Additional Resources

More Activities and Photos

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