What were the most-read stories at the Texas Butterfly Ranch this year? Beyond the homepage and the “about us” tab, these were the most widely read posts over the past 12 months. Take a look and happy holidays to you.
#1 Catalina Trail, founder of the Monarch Butterfly Roosting Sites, Lives a Quiet Life in Austin
Our most-read blogpost written in 2012 is the story of Catalina Trail, a lovely, quiet woman who ‘s role in Monarch butterfly natural history was relatively uncelebrated until
Free spirit and itinerant traveler Catalina Trail traveled the hemisphere in the 70s. Photo copyright Catalina Trail
recently. We consider it a privilege to have made her acquaintance and found a friend in Catalina this year. She lives just 75 miles up the road in Austin, Texas.
#2 The Intriguing Black Witch Moth, Large, Batlike and Harmless
This enormous dark, batlike moth loves to rest under eaves and around doorways, a habit that results in quite a “startle factor” when flushed, as explained by our friend and
Black Witch Moth Female, photo via www.whatsthatbug.com
entomologist Mike Quinn. The drought seems to have helped the moth’s population grow and extended its migration, making it more common than usual this year.
#4 Desperately Seeking Milkweed: Monarch Butterflies Appetites Create Milkweed Emergency
This post created a bit of a stir, as it called out a local nursery for selling chemical laced milkweed to a friend who was feeding hundreds of Monarch caterpillars. Read on
Boo-hoo! Dead Monarch caterpillars fall victim to pesticide laced milkweed. Photo via Sharon Sander
for tips on determining if milkweed bought from local nurseries is riddled with systemic pesticides that spell death for Monarch caterpillars.
#4 Tomato Hornworms, Loathed by Gardeners, Morph into the Magnificent Sphinx Moth
Gardeners often can’t tolerate the tomato hornworm, which appears in early summer and decimates those heirloom and cherry hybrids so painstakingly tended. But the chubby
Look at that face! Tomato Hornworm on Jimsonweed. Photo by Monika Maeckle
green “worm” is actually a caterpillar that morphs into a gorgeous pink-and-black moth that hovers and dances much like a hummingbird.
#5 Chasing Monarchs on the Llano River with Dr. Chip Taylor
It was a butterfly evangelist’s fantasy come true, to tag Monarch butterflies with one of the foremost experts on Monarchs on the planet, Dr. Chip “Orly” Taylor, founder of
Monarch Watch founder Dr. Chip Taylor on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. Photo by Monika Maeckle
Monarch Watch, the citizen scientist program that has been a fixture of my autumn each year. Read about my kidnapping Dr. Taylor from a conference in Kerrville for a quick trip to our Llano River ranch to take the pulse of the 2012 migration in October.
#6 FAQ: Is it OK to Move a Monarch Chrysalis?
This post gets a lot of action when folks find a lonely Monarch or other butterfly chrysalis in an inopportune spot. We frequently are asked if it’s ok, and if so, how to relocate the
Sure it’s ok to move chrysalises to a safer spot. Photo by Monika Maeckle
chrysalis to a safer, perhaps more welcoming place. Here’s tips on how to do it.
#7 IMAX Film Might be as Good As it Gets for Monarch Butterflies
The fabulous IMAX film, Flight of the Butterflies, opened in September, just as we were anticipating the Monarch migration. All the hubbub surrounding the film’s debut made it seem that the 3D footage assembled by SK Films might be as good as it could possibly
A Butterfly Haven somewhere in Michoacan –Photo courtesy SK Films
get for Monarchs this year–and that is likely the case. Monarchs may have had their worst year yet, numbers-wise. Texas Butterfly Ranch later reviewed the film in this post.
Other favorite posts that were written in years past:
Butterflies Made a Darwin Doubter out of Valdimir Nabokov
I continue to be perplexed why this post consistently ranks as one of the most read in Texas Butterfly Ranch history. Perhaps referencing the conservative Discovery Institute is what continues to provoke readers. Hmm.
Milkweed Guide: Choose Best Plants for Monarch Butterflies
This plant guide for Texas milkweeds has been a perpetual most-viewed post since it was published in November of 2010. Time for us to update it, which we hope to do soon.
Antelope Horns Milkweed is a great choice for Texas gardens and wildlscapes. Photo by Monika Maeckle
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