BOOK REVIEW: “Native Plants for New England Gardens” by Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe

Times have certainly changed since I first started gardening. When I began, we planted what we did because we liked it, with no regard as to whether it was a native plant and certainly no concern as to how it could impact the environment. My background has always been with butterfly gardening and early on I wanted my gardens to be filled with anything that would attract butterflies; native or not. Now, it seems that this method can actually be detrimental to not only the butterflies but the bees as well. Being a horticulture manager at a zoo has certainly opened my eyes on many levels to the importance of always using native plants.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History of the Fireflies of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada”

Fireflies. Lightning Bugs. Who doesn’t love them. I vividly remember growing up in a place where fireflies were a rarity and to see one was a thrill. I remember catching them with my butterfly net and being fascinated by this small beetle with the light up butt. Because sightings were so few and far between, I kind of forgot the magic of seeing this amazing little insect. That is, until maybe two years ago.

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LEPIDOPTERA LIFE CYCLES: The Glover’s Silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia gloveri)

The Glover’s silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia gloveri) is a smaller relative of the Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia). This beautiful species can be found along the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin from Canada to Mexico.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies: A Field Guide”

What can I say? I love Texas! I am a Rhode Island native and in 2017 and 2018 I visited Austin and all of the night life it had to offer. During the day my girlfriend and I would go hiking, checking under rocks and logs for scorpions and tarantulas. In addition, we were always on the lookout for the local butterflies, hoping to see something we wouldn’t normally see in New England. One of my favorite parts of travelling is experiencing insects and arachnids that I’m not accustomed to.

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LEPIDOPTERA LIFE CYCLES: The Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is perhaps the most popular butterfly in the world. Its large size and contrasting orange and black coloration make it highly recognizable and its annual migration of up to 3,000 miles south make it seen by more people than perhaps any other species of butterfly in the world.

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Male monarch butterfly.

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BOOK REVIEW: “Butterflies of North America” by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

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There are new books on butterflies coming out all the time and I usually find out about them accidentally, usually by them showing up as a recommendation on Amazon based on my search history. When the book “Butterflies of North America” came up I was really unsure how it was going to be. The feedback on Amazon was decent but as many people know, you cannot always rely on these reviews. Thankfully the reviews ended up being based in fact!

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LEPIDOPTERA LIFE CYCLES: The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, is one of the most widespread butterflies in the United States. It belongs to the Nymphalidae family and is known for its bright red forewing bands contrasted by the black and white that covers the remainder of its wings. They are fast, erratic flyers and are often confused with painted ladies, who are the same size and fly the same way. Oftentimes it is not until one actually lands that a positive identification can be made.

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