Hitting the Trifecta

It’s not often—or ever before, to be honest—that I’ve had the chance to photograph several stages in an insect’s life journey in just a week or so, but I think I nailed it recently.

We’ve got some wild senna growing happily in our yard and one day Nadia and I noticed some caterpillars feeding on the flowers.  I took some pics and wandered over to my favorite caterpillar identification site and tentatively identified it as a Cloudless Sulfur caterpillar (in a somewhat roundabout way).

Cloudless Sulfur larvae

Caterpillar of the Cloudless Sulfur (Phoebis sennae)

Not many days later, we noticed a very busy yellowish butterfly flitting around the plants, pausing very briefly, then moving on, over and over.  I manage to get a quick snapshot. Having watched this sort of behavior before, I thought “I bet she’s laying eggs.”

Adult Cloudless Sulfur

Adult Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly Laying Eggs

Sure enough, I marked a spot where the little lady had just paused and went over for a closer look.  Guess what?

Cloudless Sulfur egg

Freshly deposited egg of a Cloudless Sulfur butterfly

I later moused over to Bug Guide and checked to see if the butterfly just might match the caterpillars.  It did!   When I realized that we had just seen one of our yard citizens go from egg to adult almost in front of our eyes, it almost brought a little tear to mine.  They just grow up so fast….sniff.

Nadia?  She just thought it was way cool.


Note:  If anyone ever notices an incorrect identification in any of these posts, PLEASE let me know!  I would really appreciate it!

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4 Responses to Hitting the Trifecta

  1. Henry Domke says:

    Very cool!
    Thanks for mentioning the caterpillar identification site. That is a great idea. Do know of any other sites like that for other kinds of life?

    For wild birds I’ve enjoyed:
    Especially interesting is their eBird sightings Map.

    For wild plants, USDA Plant database:
    Of course you are married to Nadia, so you probably don’t need to worry about that.

    Another one for native butterflies and moths:

    Other suggestions?

  2. Kim says:

    How awesome is that?! Isn’t it amazing how much life we can discover when we just take the time to sit and watch nature?

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