Late summer in southwest Virginia is the hot time for finding butterflies!
Most people associate butterflies with spring, but you'll find few fluttering by in the early, chilly months of the season.
By late summer, butterflies have had months of warm weather to lay eggs, let caterpillars feast on leaves and grow fat and pupate into adult butterflies. . . who then lay more eggs. Each group of hatched eggs is called a "brood" and most butterflies have more than one brood each summer.
Also, fall migration is about to start, and if you think only Monarch butterflies migrate, think (and look) again! According to the North American Butterfly Association, other butterflies that come north in spring and head south in winter include the Cloudless Sulphur, Painted Lady, American Lady, Red Admiral, Common Buckeye, Cloudless Sulphur, Mourning Cloak, and Question Mark butterflies.
These are just a few of the more than 50 butterfly species that live in Virginia. For the full list, visit The Butterfly Site.
These slides will include all of the migratory species named above as well as some other large, impressive, local species, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Black Swallowtail, the Red-spotted Purple, and the Silver-spotted Skipper.
For more information on butterflies, try these field guides and books:
Great Butterfly Guide Books to Use with Kids
- The National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid Atlantic States by Peter Alden and Brian Cassie
- Peterson Flash Guides: Butterflies by Paul Opler & Amy Bartlett Wright
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide: Familiar Butterflies of North America
- Peterson First Guide: Butterflies and Moths by Paul A. Opler, Roger Tory Peterson, and Amy Bartlett Wright
- Peterson First Guides: Caterpillars by Amy Bartlett Wright
Great Butterfly Guide Books for Teens and Adults
- Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Butterflies by Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul
- The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies by Robert Michael Pyle
Books to Help Children Learn About and Enjoy Butterflies
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- National Geographic Readers Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh
- From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find Out Science, Stage 1) by Deborah Heiligman and Bari Weissman
- Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder
- Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
- Flight of the Butterflies by Roberta Edwards and Bob Kayganich
- American Girl: Lanie's Real Adventures by Jane Kurtz and Robert Papp
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