If you’ve been around St. Nicholas lately, you might have noticed some winged visitors to our little church. A couple of weeks ago, our Sunday School children were amazed to see how friendly these beautiful members of God’s creation actually are. With the help of John Brent, the children got to see the butterflies up close and even got to walk around with them on their finger!
Here is some education on the butterflies, courtesy of a site that John found, in case you happen to see them again.
I most often find the red-spotted purple patrolling the edges of forest clearings and perching on low branches or on the ground. They seem particularly fond of the limestone scalings of the Illinois Prairie Path. I’m thinking this is one way they secure moisture or minerals. The Red-spotted Purple is a mimic of the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), and hence gains protection from predacious birds. It is thought the red-spotted purple hybridizes with the white admiral butterfly to produce partially banded offspring. Many lepidopterists consider the two to be one species.
Life Cycle: Caterpillar is humped, cream-colored, with dark-colored saddle. Two conspicuous brushlike bristles behind the head. Willows, aspens, poplars, cherry, hawthorns, apples and hornbeams are host plants. Habitat: Woodlands, open forests, glades and clearings, roads, paths and shorelines.
Butterflies have been revered by mankind since before the dawn of recorded history. They are among the most fascinating and beautiful animals; even people who care not for insects in general usually have an affection for these winged wonders. They live nearly everywhere — from gardens and forests and mountains to acid bogs and frozen arctic tundra. Almost 700 of the world’s 10 – 20,000 species live in North America north of Mexico.