Citheronia splendens, also known as the splendid royal moth, is a Mexican species that is closely related to the Regal moth (Citheronia regalis) and was discovered living in parts of Arizona in the early 1970’s. There is not much known about this species but it is definitely fun to rear and the resulting moth is spectacular.
For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in butterflies. In fact, one of my fondest memories as a child during the 1970’s was raising monarch butterflies every summer with my mother’s help. She would drive me to places where milkweed was growing and would help me find the tiny eggs and caterpillars, which we would bring home, raise and then release the adults. We would raise hundreds each summer. What is truly sad is that today, finding eggs and caterpillars seem to be almost impossible as monarch populations are on the decline.
Times are definitely changing. At the time of this writing we are in the midst of a global pandemic, where everyone is asked to self isolate and keep six feet away from friends and family. These are trying times, emotionally and financially, so what is someone to do to help weather the storm? With it being spring, one thing you can do is help another global issue; the decline of pollinators.
Growing up I was not much of a fan of spiders. On the one hand I thought they were kind of cool looking. On the other, they could be so fast and could bite! I think as a child I just felt it was safer to collect butterflies and moths. As I got older though my appreciation for these eight-legged invertebrates grew and now, I am a huge fan of arachnids. Though their speed and ability to bite makes me hesitant to hold them, I have a huge respect for them, especially with how beneficial they are to the world around us.
I have been on the search for the ultimate butterfly gardening guide for awhile now and with this one concentrating on the use of native plants, thought I would add it to my library. Up until recently I hadn’t taken into consideration the importance of using native species so wanted to learn more.
If you are a regular reader of my blogs then you know that I absolutely love books on insects and arachnids, especially when it comes to butterflies and moths. Forty-five years ago began my interest in Lepidoptera and the passion has lasted until now. I started out as a collector and now any new collecting I do is in the form of photos. Any work with actual specimens is in conservation and raising these beautiful creatures.
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.
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.
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.
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.