Hot summer days perfect time to solarize, convert turf to pollinator habitat

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Front yard struck by high temperatures and a lack of rain? Grass looking a little dead? Perhaps you should consider solarization, an easy, chemical-free method that can convert water-guzzling grass to a glorious butterfly garden. Solarization offers a low-cost, low … Read More

Butterflies without Borders Forum 2018: Migration, politics, and pesticides

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Monarch butterfly and forestry scientists, a litigant in the border wall dispute, and an activist journalist who has taken Monsanto to task will gather to discuss the future of the Americas’ most iconic insect October 19 at Butterflies without Borders: … Read More

Pollinator habitat success story: Collins Garden Elementary lives up to its name

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Gifted and talented teacher Chéri Tondre floats between four different elementary school campuses in the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) each week. Beacon Hill, Martin Luther King Academy, Hirsch and Collins Garden Elementary all share the energetic teacher’s time. … Read More

Vote! For your favorite San Antonio 300for300 Pollinator Habitat yard sign

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We’ve been working with our community collaborators to execute San Antonio’s 300for300 pollinator habitat initiative, announced earlier this spring. And yes, we’re a little behind–but then a garden is a process, not a project, right? So far, 48 pollinator gardeners … Read More

Monarch Zones: bold move or bad idea for expanding monarch butterfly population?

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MARION, IOWA–Hundreds of fourth and fifth instar monarch caterpillars have replaced prize-winning show horses as the preferred livestock at Clearwater Farm in Linn County, Iowa. The hungry creatures nosh on common milkweed in a mesh enclosure inside the barn’s lab … Read More

Pollinator plants and family fun at Monarch Watch Spring Open House

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LAWRENCE, KANSAS — Carol Rooker and Marilyn Harnisch drove in from Baldwin just 12 miles away to attend the Monarch Watch Annual Spring Open House and Fundraiser Plant Sale on Saturday. The women are Master Gardeners and overseeing a pollinator … Read More

Five monarch butterflies tagged and released at San Antonio Festival made it to Mexico

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Five out of 720 commercially reared monarch butterflies tagged and released at our 2017 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival in San Antonio were recovered in Mexico, citizen science organization Monarch Watch announced this week. The five tags constitute 0.54% of … Read More

300for300 San Antonio: Tricentennial pollinator habitat initiative announced

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SAN ANTONIO — The Alamo City celebrates its Tricentennial birthday this year and the Texas Butterfly Ranch is comemmorating the occasion by working with our favorite community collaborators to plant 300 pollinator habitats in honor of San Antonio’s 300th birthday. … Read More

Planning a pollinator garden? Here’s tips on how to do it

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Planning a pollinator garden? Here’s some times on how to do it.… Read More

Climate change blamed for 15% drop in migrating Monarch butterfly population

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Climate change and a copper mine challenge a smaller monarch butterfly migration… Read More

San Antonio Zoo to celebrate third annual Monarch Fest this weekend

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San Antonio Monarch Fest happens this weekend at the San Antonio Zoo.… Read More

Monarch butterfly Valentine: how do we love thee?

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A recycled love letter to our favorite insect: Monarch butterfly, how do we love thee?… Read More

Eavesdropping on Monarch butterflies via live stream at Cerro Pelón, Mexico

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Sounds of nature: Monarch butterflies’ symphony of wings now available from Mexico via live stream.… Read More

At war with Agave Americana: tenacious plant resists chainsaw, digging, fire

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At war with Agave americana: a tenacious plant that forms gnarly colonies when not managed properly.… Read More

Q & A: Seed-balls.com founder says "throw and grow" gardening often doesn't work

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The truth about seed balls: they don’t always germinate, but they engage people on many levels. Plus, they’re fun to make.… Read More

Winter Solstice signals time to make wildflower seed balls–here’s how

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Here comes the Solstice and that means it’s a great time to make wildflower seed balls for next year’s wildflower meadow. Here’s how to do it.… Read More

Dreamy visit to Mexico's Monarch butterfly roosts ends in rabies shots, credit card fraud

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A dreamy sojourn to the Monarch butterfly roosting sites in Mexico ends with a dog bite, rabies shots, and credit card fraud. … Read More

Monarch butterfly expert Dr. Karen Oberhauser to speak in San Antonio Nov. 8

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Monarch butterfly guru Dr. Karen OBerhauser will be in San Antonio to share the state of the union of the Monarch migration Tuesday, November 7. … Read More

Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival soars in San Antonio

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The Texas Butterfly Ranch’s 2017 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival Soars in San Antonio… Read More

Happy Monarch butterfly birthday suggests spectacular 2017 migration season

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Early clusters of Monarch butterflies arrive in the Texas Hill Country in what looks to be a spectacular 2017 migration season.… Read More

Happy Equinox, ya'll: here's how to track the Monarch migration from your desk

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Happy Equinox, ya’ll. Monarch butterflies heading our way, respond to cues from sun.… Read More

Move over Monarch butterflies, Painted ladies are coming to town

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Move over Monarch butterflies! The Painted ladies are coming!… Read More

"Monarchy" members Chip Taylor, Elizabeth Howard to join Butterflies w/o Borders Panel

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Monarch butterfly conservation rock stars Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch and Elizabeth Howard of Journey North will join a “Butterflies without Borders” panel discussion on the Monarch Butterfly Migration and Our Changing Climate in San Antonio. … Read More

Here they come! Texas Hill Country ready for robust Monarch butterfly migration

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Stands of flowering milkweed and late summer flowers await migrating Monarch butterflies in the Texas Hill Country this season. The iconic black and orange butterflies are projected to arrive here in about six weeks. Every year around Labor Day, we … Read More

Nice job, Michigan: milkweed and nectar plants bolster Monarch butterfly migration

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Milkweeds and nectar plants ready in Michigan as Monarch butterflies start their migration … Read More

Butterflies without Borders: Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival set for October

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Dust off your wings and save the dates: the 2017 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival in San Antonio will take flight Friday – Sunday, October 20 – 22, 2017, celebrating the magic and majesty of the Monarch butterfly migration. For … Read More

Border wall at National Butterfly Center violates property rights and worse

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If I ever pulled up to our Llano River ranch road to find a work crew, heavy machinery, pink flagged survey stakes, and trees slashed to the ground, I’d likely grab my husband’s shotgun. But Marianna Treviño Wright, director of … Read More

Success! Petition spurs rangers' reinstatement at Monarch butterfly roosting forest

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Online petition spurs reinstatement of park ranger patrols at Monarch butterfly roosting sites in Mexico.… Read More

Fungus among us: Wildroot Organic praises the magic of mycorrhizal fungi

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David Steinbrunner remembers the exact moment he decided to go organic. The Texas A&M University football quarterback and horticulture major and a fellow student were tasked with tending the campus pecan orchard in 1979. Their assignment: spray the trees for … Read More

Commercially raised Monarch butterfly released in Grapevine, TX makes it to Mexico

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They said it couldn’t be done. That a commercially raised Monarch butterfly couldn’t migrate. But Jenny Singleton of the Grapevine Butterfly Flutterby Festival and one commercially grown Monarch proved that a butterfly tagged and released in Texas can find its way … Read More

RIP: The all too short life of a gnarly pecan tree

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High winds took out our gnarly pecan tree this week. WE will miss its service.… Read More

Beyond Monarch butterflies: pollinators and politics at Texas Pollinator PowWow

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Pollinators and politics center stage at 2017 Texas Pollinator Pollinator PowWow in Nacogdoches … Read More

Pollinator favorite: Cowpen Daisy plays host to Bordered Patch butterfly

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Cowpen Daisy, Verbesina encelioides, goes on the Texas Butterfly Ranch Favorite Species List (FSL). This plant is a rock star. It starts blooming in March and continues through November. Keep deadheading, and Cowpen Daisy puts out prolific blooms, abundant seeds, and … Read More

Agrawal: Milkweeds don't need Monarch butterflies, but Monarchs need milkweed

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Monarch butterflies and milkweed. We’ve explored the subject many times right here at the Texas Butterfly Ranch. But author Anurag Agrawal’s recently published Monarchs and Milkweed, A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and their Remarkable Story of Co-evolution adds a new dimension … Read More

Monarch butterflies head north as Mexican scientists try to move their forest

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Stressed Monarch butterflies head our way as Mexican scientists try to move their overwintering forest.… Read More

Monarch butterfly Valentine: how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

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Monarch butterfly Valentine. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways.… Read More

Monarch butterfly migrating population drops 27%, freak sleet storm to blame

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Officials in Mexico announced Wednesday that the population of migrating Monarch butterflies dropped 27% this season, marking a setback in two consecutive years of growth from the historic low of 2014. A freak sleet storm gets the blame. Just last year, … Read More

Monarch Champions: San Antonio elected officials submit to butterfly's charms

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Want to see changes in Monarch butterfly and pollinator advocacy in your city? Give elected officials some milkweed and a Monarch caterpillar.… Read More

Weather extremes create quandary: what to do with late season butterflies?

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What to do with late season butterflies when the weather turns cold.… Read More

Frostweed earns its name with intriguing ice sculptures upon first frost

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Frostweed earns its name as first frost turns rock star nectar plant into ice crystal artist.… Read More

Q & A: Dr. Anurag Agrawal challenges Monarch butterfly conservation conventional wisdom

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Contrarian Dr. Anurag Agrawal dared to suggest that the focus on milkweed in Monarch butterfly conservation might be misplaced.… Read More

Climate Change and the Monarch Butterfly Migration Symposium tackles tough questions

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Climate change and the Monarch butterfly migration tackles tough questions with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and citizen scientists… Read More

What will happen to pollinator advocacy under President Trump?

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What is the future of pollinator advocacy under a Trump administration?… Read More

San Antonio’s first Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival a roaring success

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San Antonio’s first Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival a roaring success… Read More

Can't get outside? Here's how to track the Monarch butterfly migration from your desk

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Can’t get outside? Here’s some cool tools to track the Monarch butterfly migration from your desk.… Read More

Climate change expert Dr. Katherine Hayhoe at TribuneFest: "Hopelessness is hopeless"

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Climate change expert Dr. Katherine Hayhoe at Texas Tribune Festival: “Leave the science behind” when convince people to combat climate change… Read More

McAllen, Texas becomes second NWF Monarch Butterfly Champion City

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McAllen, Texas follows San Antonio to become second National Wildlife Federation Monarch butterfly Champion City… Read More

Invasion of Snout-nosed butterflies returns to Central and South Texas

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No, they’re not Monarchs. Invasion of snout #butterflies returns to Texas.… Read More

Llano River: Late season nectar plants await Monarch butterfly migration

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Llano River: late season nectar plants await Monarch butterfly migration in Texas in what is expected to be a down year… Read More

Monarch butterflies heading our way, but not as many as we hoped

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Monarch butterflies heading our way but not as many as we’d hoped to see. … Read More

When aphids suck the life from your milkweed, here's how to safely get rid of them

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How aphids SUCK the life out of your milkweed and what you can do to get rid of them… Read More

That ain't no Monarch: meet these OTHER caterpillars that feed on milkweed

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Monarch butterflies are the most famous feeders of milkweed, but these OTHER caterpillars are also fans.… Read More

Save the date: Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival in San Antonio Oct. 20-22

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Save the date for San Antonio’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival Oct. 21 – 22, 2016… Read More

Texas Comptroller awards $500K in Monarch research grants to Texas universities

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$500K to Texas A&M and Sam Houston State University to study Monarch butterflies, thanks to Texas State Comptroller’s Office… Read More

Mexico, Canada and Obama recommit to conserving Monarch butterfly migration

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Obama and Presidents of Mexico, Canada meet to talk clean energy, climate change and Monarch butterflies.… Read More

Texas brakes for butterflies: "Monarch Highway" comes to IH35

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Texas brakes for butterflies: Fasten your seatbelt for the Monarch Highway coming to IH35… Read More

Trinity students continue battle with Johnson grass–Goldenrod winning

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Trinity students help combat Johnson grass on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country.… Read More

Coming soon? Grupo Mexico copper mine in heart of Monarch butterfly roosting sites

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Grupo Mexico trying to reopen copper mine in pristine forest that is home to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Preserve.… Read More

New study: nectar plants more important than milkweed for Monarch butterfly migration

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It’s not just about the milkweed: new study says nectar plants may be more important in helping save the Monarch butterfly migration.… Read More

And the winner of the Fiesta 2016 butterfly medal contest is…

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And the winner of our 2016 Fiesta San Antonio #butterfly medal is…… Read More

Viva Fiesta! Vote for your favorite Fiesta San Antonio butterfly medal

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San Antonio goes butterfly crazy with 2016 Fiesta medals. Vote for your favorite!… Read More

Scientists try to assess Monarch butterfly mortality after Mexican freeze

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Scientists continue to assess the mortality rate of Monarch butterflies in the aftermath of a freak winter storm at their roosting sites in Mexico.… Read More

At least 1.5 million Monarch butterflies perish in deadly ice storm in Michoacán

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Freak freeze in Mexico kills roosting Monarch butterflies just as they’re getting ready to migrate north.… Read More

Red Admiral butterflies everywhere

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Friendly Red Admiral butterflies on the move in South Texas.… Read More

Good news! Monarch butterfly population triples

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Good news! Monarch butterfly population triples!… Read More

San Antonio Zoo to stage three-day Monarch Fest March 4-6

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San Antonio Zoo hosts first Monarch (butterfly) Fest March 4 – 6… Read More

How to plan a successful butterfly and pollinator garden

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Planning your 2016 pollinator and butterfly garden? HEre’s tips on how to do it.… Read More

Commercial butterfly breeders: industry has vested interest in raising OE-free butterflies

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Guest post: Commercial butterfly breeders, under siege, say industry has esgted interest in raising OE-free butterflies… Read More

Lawsuit seeks ESA Monarch butterfly listing, turns up heat on commercial breeders

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Lawsuit threat on ESA Monarch butterfly listing turns up heat on commercial butterfly breeders… Read More

Texas Comptroller's office provides update on Monarch butterfly research, ESA status

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Texas State Comptroller’s office gives update on Monarch butterfly research, endangered species listing… Read More

Monarch Champion status NOT "just talk," will change how San Antonio manages land

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San Antonio, Monarch Butterfly Champion: Mayor’s Pledge “NOT just talk,” will change policy… Read More

Time to harvest seeds, make (small) seedballs for next year's wildflowers

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It’s time to harvest seeds and make seedballs to increase next year’s wildflower bounty.… Read More

Guidance on milkweed management confuses butterfly gardeners

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Official guidance from scientists about what to do regarding late season milkweed is confusing gardeners.… Read More

Late season Monarch butterflies create gardening quandary

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Late season Monarch butterflies beg lots of questions about best practices for pollinator gardening.… Read More

Mighty Monarch butterflies brave south winds, Hurricane Patricia to arrive in Mexico

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Mighty Monarch butterfly migration braves strong winds, redirects, Hurricane Patricia to arrive in Mexico… Read More

Q & A: Journey North's Elizabeth Howard talks tech, citizen science, mass butterfly releases

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Journey North founder Elizabeth Howard talks technology, citizen science and mass butterfly releases.… Read More

How to tag a Monarch butterfly in six easy steps

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Wondering how to tag a Monarch butterfly? Here’s how to do it in six easy steps.… Read More

Butterfly FAQ: How to move a Monarch butterfly chrysalis

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Butterfly FAQ: How to move a Monarch butterfly chrysalis. … Read More

Q & A: Catalina Trail, founder of the Monarch butterfly roosting sites

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Q & A with Catalina Trail, founder of the Monarch butterfly roosting sites.… Read More

2015 a banner year? Monarch butterfly migration heading our way

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Monarch butterflies heading our way in what could be a banner year for the migrating insects… Read More

Increased cash, awareness, rain, egg-laying: good news for 2015 Monarch butterfly migration

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Monarch butterfly migration likely to be robust thanks to rain, fertile egg laying in the Midwest and raised public awareness.… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Release "Better than any church service"

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A release of 93 Monarch butterflies was the perfect gesture to honor my late father’s life. … Read More

Five Texas Moths for Enjoying Year-Round Moth Week

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Here’s five fine Texas moths that will help you enjoy moth week all year round.… Read More

Moth Night San Antonio: Lotsa MOTH-ers, Fewer Moths, $ for Urban Natural Areas

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Lotsa MOTH-ers, fewer moths, and funds raised for Friends of San Antonio Natural Areas at first official Moth Night San Antonio.… Read More

Q&A: Moth Week Spokesmoth Manduca Sexta Says Moths Get No Respect

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Q&A with National Moth Week Spokesmoth Manduca Sexta: Moths Don’t Get no Respect… Read More

$300K Grant Awarded to UTSA to Study Monarch Butterfly, Inventory Texas Milkweeds

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San ANtonio’s UTSA receives $300K grant to study Monarch butterflies and native Texas milkweeds.… Read More

Join us! Malt, Hops and Moths: Moth Night at the Alamo Brewery July 23

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July 23: Join us at the Alamo Brewery for Malt, Hops and Moths, in San Antonio, a celebration in honor of National Moth Week… Read More

Happy Pollinator Week! Unpaid Workers of Our Food Web Deserve Respect and Resources

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Happy Pollinator Week! Events celebrate the unpaid workers that make our food possible.… Read More

Trinity Students Tackle Invasive Johnson grass on Llano River

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Trinity University students make war on Johnson grass on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country.… Read More

IH35 to become Pollinator Corridor for Bees, Monarch Butterflies, and other Pollinators

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IH35 to become pollinator corridor for Bees, Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.… Read More

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies Everywhere: Here's How to Raise Them at Home

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Eastern Black Swallowtails are everywhere this season: here’s how to raise them at home.
Read More

Tropical Milkweed OK for Monarch Butterflies, "Just Cut the Dang Stuff Down''

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Debate continues: Tropical milkweed Ok for Monarch butterflies, “just cut the dang stuff down.”… Read More

Thanks, El Niño: Llano River Hosts Milkweed Buffet for Monarchs and other Butterflies

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Thanks, El Niño. Cooperative weather makes for milkweed buffet along Llano River for Monarchs and other butterflies.… Read More

Coming soon: LIVE from the Mariposario, Dispatches from my Butterfly House

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My Mariposario: Family makes multi generation migration to downtown San Antonio.… Read More

Let the Migration Begin: Milkweeds Sprout as Monarch Butterflies Arrive in Texas

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Here they come! Monarch butterflies arriving in Texas just as milkweeds start to sprout.… Read More

Late-but-Great Wildflowers to Greet Monarchs and other Pollinators

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Wildflowers and milkweeds running late for migrating Monarchs and other pollinators. A late-but-banner wildflower season in store.… Read More

Marine Biologist Launches App to Track Monarch Butterflies on Oil Rigs in Gulf

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Marine biologist develops app to track Monarch butterflies on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.… Read More

Wildly Successful: Pollinator PowWow Draws Hundreds from Texas and Beyond

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Wildly successful Texas Pollinator PowWow sings the praises of birds, bats, beetles, butterflies in Austin.… Read More

Mega Grower Color Spot Nursery to Consider Growing Clean, Chemical-free Milkweed

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Mega grower Color Spot Nursery is considering growing clean, chemical free milkweeds for Monarch butterfly fans.… Read More

Q & A: Dr. Lincoln Brower talks Ethics, Endangered Species, Milkweed and Monarchs

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Q&A with Dr. Lincoln Brower on Bioethics, Endangered Species, Monarch Butterflies and milkweed… Read More

Survey: Monarch Butterfly Enthusiasts Will Pay More for Clean, Chemical Free Milkweed

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Survey: Monarch butterfly fans say they will pay MORE for chemical free milkweeds to feed hungry caterpillars.… Read More

FINALLY! Monarch Butterfly News Spurs Extreme Interest in Native Milkweeds

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Good news, bad news of Monarch butterfly numbers. Still dangerously low, but milkweed awareness is at an alltime high.… Read More

Monsanto: "We are absolutely committed" to Monarch butterfly conservation

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Monsanto says they are “absolutely committed” to Monarch butterfly conservation.… Read More

Q & A: Edith Smith, Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, talks Endangered Species Act and More

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Q&A: Butterfly Breeder Edith Smith talks about Monarchs possible listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and more… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Inches Toward "Threatened" Status under Endangered Species Act

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Monarch butterfly moves closer to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. Comment period begins tomorrow.… Read More

2014: From Worst Year for Monarch Butterflies to Rebound, Increased Pollinator Awareness

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Texas Butterfly Ranch’s top posts of 2014–from worst year for Monarch butterflies to a rebound and increased awareness of pollinator crisis.… Read More

Texas Parks and Wildlife Launches Milkweed Monitoring Project

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Texas Parks and Wildlife launches a crowdsourced milkweed monitoring project for the Lone Star State.… Read More

Q & A: Grad Student Dara Satterfield on Tropical Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies

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Graduate student Dara Satterfield caused quite a flutter recently when she was featured in the New York Times as the co-author of a study looking at how Tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, may be effecting the health of Monarch butterflies and … Read More

NYTimes, Commercial Butterfly Breeders Raise Awareness of OE to Help Monarchs

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When it comes to Monarch butterflies, OE is not OK. The nasty spore can debilitate the migrating creatures.… Read More

Endangered Species Act Petition: Wrong Tool for Monarch Butterfly Conservation?

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Endangered Species Act-wrong tool for the job of conserving the Monarch butterfly migration?… Read More

Migrating Monarch Butterflies Stymied by Wind, Storms in Texas Hill Country

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Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Monarch butterflies clustered along the Llano River this weekend, clinging to pecan tree branches as strong winds from the south kept them in place, temporarily halting their journey south toward Mexico and making easy work for … Read More

Monarch Migration Update: Lone “Cat” on Llano, Butterfly Cloud Spotted on Radar

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Lonely caterpillar on the LLano, Butterfly cloud in St. Louis–the Monarch butterfly migration kicks into full swing.… Read More

Migration Update: It Takes a Village to Feed Hungry Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

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It takes a village: friends and family collaborate to hustle milkweed for dozens of hungry Monarch caterpillars.… Read More

Migration Update: Monarch Butterfly EGGstravaganza on the Llano River

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We’re hearing positive reports from further north about the Monarch butterfly migration. Masses of Monarchs look to be in the Midwest right now, according to dispatches from the DPLEX list, the Monarch butterfly listserv that reaches hundreds of butterfly enthusiasts, … Read More

How to Track the Monarch Butterfly Migration from your Desk

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Can’t get outside to observe the Monarch butterfly migration in person? No worries. Use these online tools to track the migration from your desk.… Read More

Here They Come! Monarch Butterflies Headed our Way in Promising Rebound Season

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The Monarch butterfly migration began in mid August. The progeny of butterflies that left the forests of Mexico in March have reproduced several times on their multi-generational journey north to Canada, and are now turning their attention south, as they … Read More

Llano River Ready for "Premigration Migration" of Monarch Butterflies

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Email lists have been filled with optimistic reports on the Monarch migration in recent weeks. We’re feeling hopeful of a rebound. Folks from Canada to Pennsylvania sang a buoyant chorus:  more butterflies than last year.  Of course, it’s all relative: … Read More

Pollinator Power on the River Walk: Garden Plot Transforms to Creature Haven

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Pollinator power: CPS Energy transforms garden plot to pollinator habitat on the San Antonio River Walk.… Read More

2014 Monarch Butterfly Migration: Worst in History or a Hopeful Rebound?

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Monarch butterfly migration in 2014: Another worst year in history or hopeful rebound:… Read More

Four Fine Texas Moths for National Moth Week

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Happy Moth Week! Here’s four fine moths that will turn your head in Texas.… Read More

How to Raise Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies at Home

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Eastern Swallowtails butterflies are common this time of year. Here’s how to raise them at home. … Read More

Summer Solstice, Pollinator Week, and Some Hopeful Monarch Butterfly News

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Pollinator week, Summer Solstice and some hopeful news for Monarch butterflies this week.… Read More

Plant Flowers, Sign the Petition and Celebrate National Pollinator Week June 16 – 22

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Celebrate National Pollinator Week by signing the petition, planting flowers and deadheading. … Read More

Thanks, Climate Change! 9.5-inch Llano River Rain Dump Exemplifies Extreme Weather

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Not the Memorial Day weekend we were planning: massive rain dumps 9.5 inches on Llano River. Thanks, climate change!… Read More

Genista Moth Caterpillars Return to Llano River Mountain Laurels

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Genista moth caterpillars are back at it on the Llano River: noshing on our Mountain Laurels… Read More

Resilience Required: Climate Change Turns up the Heat in the Butterfly Garden

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Climate change will call for resilience and adaptability from gardeners, plants and insects.… Read More

Mexican Team Begins Year-long Project to Document Monarch Butterfly Migration

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Mexican team begins year-long project to document Monarch butterfly migration through video… Read More

Milkweed Shortage Sparks "Alternative Fuels" for Hungry Monarch Caterpillars

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Monarch butterfly caterpillars aren’t as picky as we thought–turns out they’ll eat squash and cucumbers!… Read More

First Lady Michelle Obama Gets Milkweed as White House Adds First Pollinator Garden

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First Lady Michelle Obama Gets Milkweed at the White House Garden. Sweeet! http://wp.me/p2fP0i-28Z… Read More

Right on time: First of Season Monarchs Arrive in San Antonio

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Here they come! Monarch butterflies are heading our way on their multigenerational journey north, desperately seeking milkweed so they can lay their eggs… Read More

Austin Butterfly Forum to Feature Historic Gathering Of Monarch Butterfly Flutterati

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Austin Butterlfy Forum to host historic gathering of four Monarch butterfly pioneers who discovered and share the news of the ancestral roosting sites in Mexico.… Read More

Plant Milkweed, Sign our Petition, Help Save the Monarch Butterfly Migration

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Plant milkweed, sign our petition to get it planted at the White House and help save the Monarch Migration.… Read More

Little Herds Bug Banquet brings Eating Insects to Austin, Texas

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More than 150 gastronauts explored the taste of entomophagy in Austin last week–the consumption of insects as food.… Read More

NAFTA Presidents, Monsanto Say They Want to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly Migration

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NAFTA presidents, Monsanto: let’s save the Monarch butterfly migration. Yes, please!… Read More

Will Obama talk Monarch Butterflies with Presidents of Canada and Mexico this week?

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The three presidents of North America are meeting 75 miles from the Monarch butterfly roosting sites this week. Will the discuss ways to save the migration?… Read More

Wake-up Call: As Monarch Butterfly Numbers Plummet, will their Migration become Extinct?

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Pollinator devastation: rapid, severe Monarch butterfly migration decline a wake-up call … Read More

Austin Bug Eating Soiree February 19: Munch on Insects to Sustain the Planet

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YUM! Bug eating soiree in Austin aims to raise entomophagy awareness. Crickets are good for you!… Read More

Caterpillar Canapes, anyone? Eating Bugs Could be Answer for Hungry Planet

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INsects are perfectly edible and consumed in all parts of the globe. Why do we find the practice of entomophagy so disgusting?… Read More

2013's Top Posts: Moths, Monarch Decline, How to Raise Butterflies, Move a Chrysalis

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Top posts of 2013 include the decline of the Monarch butterfly migraiton, how to raise Monarchs and move chrysalises, and a few stories about moths… Read More

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Seedballs this Saturday

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Celebrate the winter solstice and help next year’s wildflowers by making seedballs this Saturday.… Read More

Baby, it’s Cold Outside: What to do with Late Season Butterflies?

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Crazy weather makes for a nectar emergency when late season butterflies hatch and it’s too cold to release them. What to do?… Read More

Only Three Million Monarch Butterflies Make it to Mexico for Day of the Dead this Year

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Only three million Monarch butterflies made it to Mexico this year–dow from 450 million in our best years and 60 million last year. Some describe it as the “collapse” of the Monarch butterfly migration.… Read More

Dr. Chip Taylor to Butterfly Breeders: Monarch Roosts May Occupy Only 1.25 Acres This Year

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Dr. Chip Taylor told commercial butterfly breeders that the Monarch butterfly roosting sites this year will only occupy 1.25 acres in Mexico–down from an average of 22 acres. … Read More

Dr. Chip Taylor to Address Commercial Butterfly Breeders in San Antonio Nov. 7-10

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Want to learn how to raise butterflies? Join us at the IBBA/AFB butterfly breeders conference. Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch will speak.… Read More

Lots of Butterflies, but No Monarchs on the Llano River this Weekend

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No Monarchs on the Llano River this weekend. A disappointing end to a dreary season.… Read More

San Antonio Butterfly Fans, Join us Monday for How to Tag a Monarch Butterfly

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San Antonio butterfly buffs: joins us at the Rivard Report’s Something Monday event, How to Tag a Monarch butterfly… Read More

Caterpillar – palooza on the Llano River: No Monarch butterflies, but caterpillars galore

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Not many Monarch butterflies flying on the Llano River this weekend, but it was a caterpillar-palooza in the milkweed.… Read More

Don't Miss a (Butterfly) Beat: How to Track the Monarch Butterfly Migration from your Desk

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Don’t miss a (butterfly) beat! Here’s how to track the Monarch butterfly migration from your desk. … Read More

Fall Equinox Kicks Off Meager Monarch Butterfly Migration

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Fall Equinox today kicks off what looks to be a meager Monarch butterfly migration. But they might surprise us. … Read More

Caterpillar Cannibalism UPDATE: Monarch butterfly caterpillar eats another for lunch

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Caterpillar cannibalism update: Monarch caterpillars eat sister chrysalises, eggs and caterpillars for lunch in photos by Shady Oak Butterfly Farm.… Read More

Caterpillar Cannibalism: Monarch butterfly caterpillar eats Monarch egg for lunch

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In a case of caterpillar cannibalism, a Monarch butterfly caterpillar eats a Monarch egg for lunch. Plus: Llano River update.… Read More

Welcome to the World, Lil Joe! Monarch Eggs Retrieved on the Llano River this Weekend

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Sometimes a blackhead is a good thing–when it signals the imminent hatching of a Monarch butterfly caterpillar, for example.… Read More

Yo soy Mariposista! Butterfly Advocates Unite as Lepsters, MOTH-ers and Butterflyers

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Are you a lepster? A butterflyer? Yo soy mariposista, and we all advocate for butterflies. … Read More

First of Season Monarchs Spotted on Llano River–Another "Worst Year" for Migration?

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First of Season Monarchs spotted this weekend on the Llano River in a year that may be the worst in history for their migration. Thanks, drought. … Read More

Massive Mariposario Yeé Lo Beé Aims to Put Huatulco on the Map as A Butterfly Destination

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Massive mariposario / butterfly house aims to make Huatulco, Mexico a Butterfly Destination… Read More

Blue Morphos and a Butterfly Bonanza in Huatulco, Mexico

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Blue morphos, Black Witch moths and so much more–a butterfly trip to Huatulco Mexico results in a butterfly bonanza… Read More

Large, Bat-like, Harmless: Black Witch Moths Making Appearances in South Texas

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Hannibal Lechter would be thrilled: the large, batlike and harmless Black Witch moth is back in South Texas.… Read More

Caterpillar Quiz: How to Tell the Difference between Monarchs and Eastern Swallowtails

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Caterpillar quiz: can you tell the difference between a Monarch butterfly and Eastern Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar? Here’s how.… Read More

Butterfly Farmer Edith Smith Keeps it All in the Family at Shady Oak Butterfly Farm

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Florida Butterfly Farmer Edith Smith generously shares her wisdom and keeps the business in the family at Shady Oak Butterfly Farm… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Google Earth Tour Marries Epic Journey With Epic Technology

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Epic technology PLUS epic migration journey EQUALS Monarch Butterfly Google Earth Tour.… Read More

"Squish remorse" — Genista Larvae on Mountain Laurels Create Caterpillar Quandary

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Ever had “squish remorse”? For this butterfly evangelist, squishing hundreds of genista moth larvae on Mountain Laurels created a caterpillar quandary.… Read More

Mostly Native Urban Butterfly Garden Outperforms Lawn Anytime in San Antonio

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Last year about this time, we detailed a turf-to-bed conversion in the front yard of our rent house in the downtown Lavaca neighborhood of San Antonio.  We thought it would be helpful to share what happened over the past year … Read More

Got Milkweed? Updated Plant Guide for Central and South Texas

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Our first Milkweed Guide posted back in the fall of 2010 and has continued to be one of our most-read blogposts.   With spring here and butterfly gardeners chomping at the bit to create host and nectar habitat for Monarchs … Read More

Part Two: More Tips for Raising Monarch Caterpillars and Butterflies at Home

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Last week’s post on raising Monarch butterflies at home sparked a a slew of questions, comments and emails.   I figured I’d better get back here and clarify a few things. First, I left out the part about what to … Read More

Part One: How to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Home

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Butterfly FAQ: How to Raise Monarch butterflies at home. Grab those eggs, cultivate that milkweed and get ready to foster some caterpillars. Here’s how to do it.… Read More

Monarch Tagged With Dr. Lincoln Brower in 2011 Texas Drought Recovered at El Rosario

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Are these insects resilient or what? A Monarch tagged with Dr. Lincoln Brower in the drought of 2011 in the Texas Hill Country was recently recovered in Michoacan and reported to Monarch Watch.… Read More

Faded FOS Monarch Butterfly Lays Eggs in San Antonio Despite Dreary Population Reports

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My first day of earnest butterfly gardening of 2013 met with a sweet surprise:  my FOS (First of Season) Monarch butterfly, Sunday, March 17. And, it was a faded female, fluttering in my mulched front yard garden, lighting from one … Read More

Persnickety Texas Milkweeds "May not Lend Themselves to Mass Seed Production"

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Native American Seed Company is on a mission to restore the earth, one native seed at a time. The 300-acre spread about 115 miles west of San Antonio on the banks of the Llano River just northeast of Junction, Texas, boasts 75 … Read More

How to Get Texas Native Milkweed Seeds to Germinate

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Our friends at Native American Seed have been working for years on the best way to get persnickety Texas native milkweed seeds to germinate.   “Native milkweeds simply don’t do well in containers,” said George Cates, seed wrangler at the … Read More

Tropical Milkweed: To Plant it or Not, it’s Not a Simple Question

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Planning your butterfly garden? To plant Tropical milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies or not, is not a simple quesiton.… Read More

A Lesson in Symbiosis: "Friendly" Ants Protect Caterpillar from "Mean" Ants

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In a remarkable display of symbiosis, the video below shows how nature’s systems work together. A certain brand of  “friendly ant” slurps sugar syrup excreted from the body of a Lycaenid caterpillar.    When predatory ants (Fireants?  Hard to say.) … Read More

Tales of a Butterfly Evangelist: TEDx San Antonio Talk on Monarch Butterfly Migration Finally Published

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Tales of a Butterfly Evangelist: Check out my TEDx San Antonio Talk on the magnificent Monarch butterfly migration. … Read More

Oh, those Crazy Chrysalises: Bringing Caterpillars Inside Can Result in Chrysalises in Surprising Places

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Crazy chrysalises: if you bring in a caterpillar or chrysalis from the cold, be prepared to find the chrysalis in unlikely places. Monarch caterpillar … Read More

As the Earth Heats Up, What Does it Mean for Monarch and other Migrating Butterflies?

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Congratulations, 2012! How does it feel to be the hottest year on record? And what does it mean for Monarchs and other migrating butterflies?… Read More

Apocalypse Not Now: How to Make Seedballs and Celebrate the 2012 Winter Solstice

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Will the world end Friday? Nah. We’re celebrating the 2012 solstice by making seedballs to help make next year a banner wildflower year. Read on for our Seedball Recipe that includes a secret ingredient that deters birds and bugs.… Read More

First Frost Often Means the End for Late Season Caterpillars, and a Next Chapter for the Intriguing Frostweed Wildflower

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First frost often means the end of the season for butterflies, and a new beginning for butterfly magnet plant, Frostweed, which forms intriguing ice sculputres. And: should you bring a late season caterpillar inside? Hmmm.… Read More

Queen, Monarch Caterpillars and Butterflies: How to Tell the Difference

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Queen and Monarch butterflies look similar and use milkweed as a host plant. Here’s some tips on how to tell the difference in the caterpillars, butterflies, even the chrysalises, as the continue to show up in South Texas this fall.… Read More

"Flight of the Butterflies" in 3D a Special Holiday Treat for Kids, Seniors and all of us in Between

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The new 3D IMAX movie, Flight of the Butterflies, suits seniors, kids and all of us inbetween with its spectacular cinematography, compelling narrative and brief 44-minute duration. It makes the perfect holiday treat.… Read More

Monarch Butterflies: the Panda Bears of Climate Change?

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Will Monarch butterflies become the “poster species” of climate change? They’re getting alot of press lately with their own 3-D IMAX film, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver, and companies like Southwest Airlines pouncing on PR opportunities that showcase the plight of the Monarch butterfly migration.… Read More

From New York to San Antonio: 'Late Bloomer' Monarch Butterfly Gets Free Ride via Southwest Airlines

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It takes a village: Butterfly Lady Maraleen Manos-Jones arranges for late bloomer Monarch butterfly to get free ride from New York State to San Antonio via Southwest Airlines to facilitate arrival at roosting grounds in Mexico. … Read More

Winds from the South Stall Migrating Monarch Butterflies on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country

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Monarch butterflies on the Llano River were stymied in their migration as south winds kept them in place, holding tight onto pecan tree branches.… Read More

Chasing Monarchs on the Llano River with Dr. Chip Taylor, Champion of Monarch Butterflies

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Chasing Monarchs on the Llano River with Dr. Chip Taylor, founder of Monarch Watch, offers the champion for Monarch butterflies and the ecosystems that sustain them a lesson in the ways of the Texas Hill Country.… Read More

IMAX Film on Monarch Butterfly Migration may be as Good as it Gets for Seeing Migrating Monarchs This Year

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The 3D movie “Flight of the Butterflies,” just released, may provide the best chance to see the Monarch butterfly migration in Texas this year, as butterfly followers brace for what may be the worst year number wise since records on the Monarch migration have been kept.… Read More

Could 2012 be the Worst Year in Monarch Butterfly Migration History?

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A challenging year for the Monarch Butterfly migration gets even worse on the Llano River as dropped water tables and lack of or ill-timed rains kill the usual nectar sources that fuel the insects on the annual migration. Could this be the worst year in Monarch butterfly migration history?… Read More

Here’s How to Track the Monarch Butterfly Migration from Your Desk

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Monarch butterflies are on their way, and just leaving Canada. Check out these online tools and resources for tracking the migration from the comfort of your desk.… Read More

Illegal Logging "Stopped," but Climate Change, Aerial Insecticides Spell Challenges for Monarch Butterflies

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Monarch butterflies get a break in Mexico as illegal logging seems to be under control. But in the U.S., they face drought, climate change, wildfires and now, aerial insect ides being sprayed in Dallas to combat West Nile virus carried by mosquitos. … Read More

Let the Royal Butterfly Parade Begin: First Come the Queens, with Monarchs to Follow

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Queen butterflies are back in town. That means Monarch butterflies will be passing through soon. Can you tell the difference between these closely related species? Here’s some tips to help you distinguish between the two.… Read More

Black Witch Moth: Large, Common, Bat-like, and Harmless

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Want to win the lottery? Perhaps you should entice a Black Witch Moth to roost above your doorstep. Folk wisdom on these bat-like Moths ranges from considering them a harbinger of death to an omen of good luck and future riches.… Read More

Happy Moth Week! Night Flying Butterflies Finally Get Some Respect

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It’s National Moth Week! The night flying critters are finally getting some respect. Moth Party, anyone?… Read More

In the Butterfly Garden: Time to Harvest Sunflower Seeds, Here’s How to Do it

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Sunflowers, great for the butterfly garden, are prolific with flowers and later seeds. Yours are probably hanging their heads by now. Here’s how to harvest the sunflower seeds for your bird feeder, a protein-rich snack, or to plant next year.… Read More

Founder of the Monarch Butterfly Roosting Sites in Mexico Lives a Quiet Life in Austin, Texas

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One of the founders of the Monarch butterfly roosting spots in Michoacan, Mexico lives a quite life in Austin, Texas. The story of Catalina Trail, a soft-spoken woman that Monarch butterfly history has overlooked.… Read More

Alamo, Texas, a Great Base for South Texas Sojourn of Bugs, Butterflies and Birds

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For a fun nature getaway, check out Alamo, Texas. The small town sits in the center of the Rio Grande Valley and makes a perfect base for exploring the bird and butterfly hotspots of South Texas.… Read More

Loathed by Gardeners, Tomato Hornworms Morph into Magnificent Sphinx Moths

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Happy Pollinators week! Don’t squish that tomato hornworm–she turns into the magnificent Sphinx Moth, which pollinates various flowers, including the Agave plant.… Read More

For Monarchs and other Butterflies in your Garden, Gather Milkweed Seeds Now

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Gather milkweed seeds now! It’s a good time to gather milkweed seeds for future butterfly gardens. If you transplant milkweed seedlings in this summer heat, be sure to give them some shade and lots of water–Tropical milkweed can’t take the brutal Texas heat. … Read More

American Snout Butterflies Inundate South Texas–enroute to San Antonio, Austin?

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Snout butterflies have invaded South Texas en masse and may show up in Austin and San Antonio soon. Don’t wash your car til its over. And remember to “brake for the butterflies.”… Read More

Tales of a Butterfly Evangelist Shared at Pecha Kucha Night San Antonio

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Relay the story of the magnificent Monarch butterfly migration in six minutes and 40 seconds? Impossible? Nah. We did it at Pecha Kucha Night San Antonio, using the migration itself as a springboard for inspiration. Watch the video.… Read More

"Common" Painted Lady Butterflies Providing Not-so-Common Insights on the Development of Tiny Flying Robots

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The “common” Painted Lady butterfly is providing some not-so-commn insight in a study that aims to refine the flight machinations of micro aerial devices–MAVS. The tiny robotic flight machines will be used in reconnaissance, search and destroy and military missions.… Read More

Banner Butterfly Year Caused by "Ecological Release" in Texas, says Monarch Watch Founder Dr. Chip Taylor

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The Lone Star state and a perfect storm of weather circumstances get credit for the 2012 banner butterfly year, says Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch.… Read More

Want to Meet the Beetles? Better Hurry, Removal of Milkweed Beetles from San Antonio River's Milkweed Patch Imminent

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Beetlemania busts out at the San Antonio River Museum Reach Milkweed Patch. Harmless to humans, red-and-black milkweed beetles have overtaken the celebrated Milkweed Patch normally occupied by Monarch caterpillars and butterflies.… Read More

Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival in Fredericksburg to Celebrate Butterflies, Bats and Birds this Weekend

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Fiesta fatigue? Do like me and head for the hills–the Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival, that is. It takes place in Fredericksburg this weekend. I’ll be talking Monarch butterflies, but there will be bats, birds, dragonflies, a raptor show and star party. Hope to see you there.… Read More

Austin's Insecta Fiesta to Host World's Largest Katydid and Butterfly Flyhouse with 500 Butterflies

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Largest Katydid on the planet (and the loudest) will appear at the first annual Insecta Fiesta this Saturday at the Brackenridge Field Labs. Also: live butterfly house, insect petting zoo, cockroach tractor pull and cricket spitting contest. It’s FREE, hope to see you there.… Read More

Desperately Seeking Milkweed: Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars’ Voracious Appetites Create Milkweed Emergency

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Voracious Monarch butterfly caterpillars create milkweed emergencies throughout Texas. You can seek out pesticide free milkweed from local nurseries or better yet, GYO (grow your own).… Read More

How do Caterpillars Move? They Go with Their Gut–A Unique Form of Locomotion and a Crazy, Amusing Crawl

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How do caterpillars move? They go with their gut. Literally. Amusing VIDEO of Tobacco Hornworm caterpillar doing his gut-slide dance.… Read More

Bats, Blooms, Butterflies and Moths–Everyone is Early this year

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Everyone’s early this year. Wildflowers, birds, bats, butterflies and moth are all making an early appearance. Is it the wet winter or milder temperatures causing the advanced timing?… Read More

Save the Date: Insecta Fiesta Austin to Feature Live Butterfly House, Cricket Spitting Contest, Cockroach Races

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Live butterfly house with Monarchs and Malachites, cricket spitting contest, cockroach races–save April 21 for the Insecta Fiesta in Austin!… Read More

Number of Monarch Butterflies Down as They Leave Michoacan and Head through Texas

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Monarch butterfly good news and bad news. Bad news first: numbers are down 28 percent this year. Good news: they’re making their way through Texas, sipping nectar and laying eggs. And a bounty of wildflowers awaits them to get the migration off to a good start.… Read More

"Friendly" Red Admirals Slurp Sap in San Antonio, Bode Well for 2012 Butterfly Numbers

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Red Admirals are in town. And we’re not talking military personnel. The beautiful black and red butterflies are slurping sap on area trees with the help from migrating Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (yes, it’s a real bird, and that’s its real name). Large numbers of Red Admirals signal a BIG year for butterflies.… Read More

Mexican President Felipe Calderon Visits Monarch Butterfly Preserves in Michoacan

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President Felipe Calderon of Mexico visited the Monarch butterfly preserves in Michoacan last week to film an IMAX film and call attention to the importance of the butterflies’ unique ancestral roosting spots to the sustainable economic development of the impoverished communities surrounding … Read More

San Antonio Museum Reach Milkweed Patch Becomes Official Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project Site

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San Antonio’s Milkweed Patch Becomes Latest Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project Site and First to be monitored in 2012, as Monarch Butterflies take up permanent residence in San Antonio.… Read More

Wildflower Bonanza-to-be on the San Antonio Mission Reach, Thanks to Above-average Rains

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Wildflowers budding on the San Antonio Mission Reach. Check out the slideshow and a link to better understand the complex collaboration that brought the Mission Reach to life.… Read More

Happy Darwin Day! Would Charles Darwin be Pleased or Horrified at Butterflies as Quick Change Artists?

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What would Charles Darwin think on his 203rd birthday of butterflies capacity for rapid, evolutionary change? Hmmm.… Read More

Occupy Michoacan: Monarch Butterflies Move West Because of Deforestation and Climate Change

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Occupy MIchoacan! Monarch butterflies move a bit further west in their roost because of climate change and deforestation. … Read More

It's official: Warmer Winters Cause USDA to Revise Plant Hardiness Zones, San Antonio's Moves Closer to the Coast

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It’s official: Warmer winters Cause USDA to revise plant heartiness zones, something butterflies and blooms have been communicating for years. Yep, it’s getting warmer.… Read More

Timely Rains, Pent-up Seed Bank, and Little Competition Raise Hopes for a Banner 2012 Wildflower Season

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The historic Texas drought continues but recent rains raise hopes and streams for a banner 2012 wildflower season. And that means more butterflies.… Read More

"Plant Lady" Lee Marlowe, Guardian of San Antonio River Riparian Restoration, Names Top 10 Troublesome Plants

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A talk with “the Plant Lady,” Lee Marlowe, of the San Antonio River Authority and Guaurdian of its restoration. Lee shares her Top 10 Most Troublesome plants.… Read More

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Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Butterfly FAQ: Pros and Cons of Tropical Milkweed and What to do with a Winter Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar or Chrysalis

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Butterfly FAQs today: What to do with late season Monarch caterpillars you find this winter? And, some thoughts on the pros and cons of Tropical milkweed, that hearty, ubiquitous Monarch butterfly host plant.… Read More

UPDATE: Winter Monarch Butterflies are Reproducing at the Museum Reach Milkweed Patch on the San Antonio River Walk

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Winter Monarch butterflies are hooking up on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk. University of Minnesota graduate student Kelly Nail visits to monitor their progress at our favorite public milkweed patch.… Read More

Butterfly Predictions 2012: Historic Low Monarch counts, Wildflower Bounty, Butterflies Year-Round, a Blow For GMOs

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Four butterfly predictions for 2012: Historic low Monarch counts at the roosting spots, bounty of wildflowers in Texas, year-round butterflies and outsmarted GMOs (genetically modified organisms)… Read More

Happy Winter Solstice! Celebrate with Seedballs, a Recipe, and Step-by-Step Directions on How to Make them

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Celebrate the Winter Solstice by making seed balls! It’s easy, fun, and good for the planet. Plus, it reminds us of making mudd pies. Included in this post: the Texas Butterfly Ranch Seedball Recipe and step-by-step directions on how to make them.… Read More

Mission Reach Improvements on San Antonio River Spell Good News for Naturalists, Will Result in More Butterflies

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Beyond the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk: The Mission Reach restoration of the San Antonio River on the City’s south side bode well for nature lovers and butterflies. Hike, bike and paddling trails, bird and butterfly watching, four missions and centuries of history all invite visitors. C’mon down.… Read More

San Antonio River Walk Boasts Vibrant "Butterfly City" Along Museum Reach as Butterfly Wildscape Matures

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The Museum Reach of San Antonio’s famous River Walk sports a vibrant “butterfly city” and well-researched inspiration for those planning a butterfly garden at home or a butterfly wildscape. The improvements bode well for more butterflies flying in San Antonio and South Texas.… Read More

A Year in the Life of A Butterfly Garden: From Turf to a Butterfly Host and Nectar Garden, with Edible Landscape In Between

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Let’s get busy, people. Your butterfly garden is waiting. Make it happen. Get inspired by this month-by-month slideshow of a year in the life of a butterfly garden.… Read More

Monarch Butterflies Arrive in Michoacan, Mexico, Just in Time for Thanksgiving

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Give me a “gracias” and a happy Thanksgiving! Monarch butterflies arrive in Michoacan, continuing their migration which has endured for millennia. … Read More

In the Butterfly Garden, Part II: Transplants and Seedlings to Make a Vibrant Butterfly Garden in Downtown San Antonio

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The turf-to-bed conversion continues as we begin to transform a drought-damaged downtown San Antonio yard into a butterfly garden. Favorite host plants will be transplanted from Austin, we’ll buy several new plants in the spring and plan our seedling strategy for early January. Read all about it, and let us know if you have questions.… Read More

In the Butterfly Garden: Use Solarization to Convert a Drought Damaged Lawn into a Vibrant Butterfly Garden

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Front yard struck by the drought? Grass looking a little dead? Perhaps you should consider solarization, an easy, chemical-free method of converting your dead, water guzzling grass to a glorious butterfly garden. Check out our step-by-step approach for a turf-to-bed-conversion.… Read More

State of the Monarch Butterfly Migration in Two Minutes: Thank you, Mike Quinn of Texas MonarchWatch

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Austin entomologist Mike Quinn of Texas MonarchWatch succinctly summarizes the impact of the Texas drought on the Monarch butterfly migration for KXAN TV news in Austin.… Read More

Texas Drought Impact on Wildflower Seed Production Cuts Both Ways, PLUS Five Tips for Collecting Wildflower Seeds

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The Texas drought’s impact on wildflower seed production cuts both ways–some wildflowers produce more seed, others don’t. PLUS: Five tips for collecting wildflower seed for next year’s butterfly garden.… Read More

Accidental Massacre of Monarch Butterflies near Monterrey, Mexico Magnifies Challenges to their Migration

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Inadvertent Monarch butterfly massacre near Monterrey, Mexico begs vexing questions about preserving their migration.… Read More

Hola Mariposa Monarca! Migration update: Monarch Butterflies Spotted in Saltillo and Monterrey, Mexico

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Monarch butterflies are arriving in Northern Mexico and should arrive soon at their ancestral roosts in the mountains of Michoacan. A cold front in Texas should give them a boost as they ride the wind wave. Winds are forecast for 30 miles per hour.… Read More

On the Llano River: Assessing Texas Drought and Chasing Monarch Butterflies with the Legendary Dr. Lincoln Brower

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Famed Monarch butterfly scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower treks to Texas to gather butterflies for a study looking at the impact of the Texas drought on the Monarch butterfly migration. We were there on the Llano River, ready with our nets to help collect specimens.… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Migration Tracking Toward West Texas with Nectar Stops Along Llano River and Texas Hill Country

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Monarch butterfly migration update: they’re here! Massing in West Texas and nectaring along the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. Who would imagine they would gravitate to the most parched part of the State? Peak migration is upon us, so keep your eyes open for them.… Read More

Use Twitter Search to Track the Monarch Butterfly Migration in Real Time and Get Live Updates from the Field

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Is there an app for that? Track the Monarch butterfly migration in real time by using Twitter search. Here’s how to do it.… Read More

Texas "hell" for Monarch Butterflies Migrating to Mexico, Says Monarch Watch Founder, Plus: How You Can Help

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Monarch Watch founder Dr. Chip Taylor calls Texas “hell” for migrating Monarch butterflies on their way to Mexico. Historic drought has dried up rivers, streams and made nectar sources, the butterflies’ fuel, scarce. Taylor provides a population status report and some tips for how Texas butterfly fans can help.… Read More

Llano River Rains Make for Nectar Recovery and a Welcoming Stop for Migrating Monarch Butterflies

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The drought continues, but recent rains in the Texas Hill Country resuscitate Llano River blooms, resulting in welcoming nectar stops for migrating Monarch butterflies. The timing might be just right for a robust Monarch butterfly migration.… Read More

Tracking the Monarch Butterfly Migration? Check out these Social Media and Online Resources for Staying Informed

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Tracking the Monarch butterfly migration? Social media can help. Check out these online resources for staying on top of how the migration is progressing.… Read More

Butterfly Plant Walk, Monarch Talk and Caterpillar Crawl to Kick off San Antonio Botanical Garden's Amazing Butterflies Exhibit

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A Monarch walk, a caterpillar crawl, storytime, butterfly plant tour and gardening tips–it’s all at the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s opening weekend celebration of Amazing Butterflies. Come join me and other butterfly ambassadors and find your way through the Nature maze to learn the whole life cycle.… Read More

First of Season Monarch Butterflies Vie for Limited Llano River Nectar as Drought Ravages their Traditional Roosts

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First-of-season Monarch butterflies sighted on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. With little nectar, drought ravaged roosts, and wildfires across the landscape, Monarchs will find a less-than-welcoming rest stop when they hit Central and South Texas in October.… Read More

Queen and Monarch Butterflies Share Beauty, Charm and Gold Dotted Chrysalises: How to Tell the Difference

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Queen butterflies and Monarch butterflies share beauty, charm and gorgeous chrysalises as endearing traits. That said, it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two. here’s some tips on distinguishing these butterfly beauties from each other.… Read More

Butterfly Garden: Jimsonweed Takes the Heat, Sports Elegant Flowers and Hosts the Endearing Sphinx Moth

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In the butterfly garden Jimsonweed works overtime with gorgeous white trumpet flowers, lush large leaves, spiny unusual seedballs and fascinating sphinx moth caterpillars. Oh, and it’s easy-to-grow and drought and heat resistant.… Read More

How Does the Migrating Monarch Butterfly Population Look This Year? Grim, thanks to Drought, Wildfires and Herbicides

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What’s in store for Texas’ Monarch butterfly migration this year? The outlook is grim, with drought, fires, and herbicide tolerant crops making for a challenging season and lower numbers. Still, Monarchs MUST fly through Texas to get to Mexico. Which route will they choose–Hill Country or the Coast? … Read More

Pollinator Porn: Beguiling Beauty of Pollination Lusciously Captured by Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg

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Monday morning pollinator porn: this sensuous time-lapse, close-up cinematography of the “love story that feeds the Earth” should help get your week off on the right foot. Renown filmmaker Louie Schwartzenberg’s “Wings of Life” reveals hidden beauty of pollination… Read More

Monarch Watch Butterfly Tagging Program Celebrates 20 Years, One Million Butterflies Tagged, and WHY We Tag Them

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Monarch Watch’s citizen scientist Monarch butterfly tagging program turns twenty this fall. More than one million butterflies have been tagged. WHY do we tag them? Read on to find out.… Read More

Butterfly FAQ: Is Relocating a Monarch Chrysalis OK? Yes, and Here’s Tips On How to Handle Them With Care

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Butterfly FAQ: Is it OK to relocate a Monarch chrysalis after its formed? Answer: Yes, and here’s some tips on what to keep in mind when you do.… Read More

First Birthday Photo Album: A Year of Butterfly Photos from the Texas Butterfly Ranch

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Texas Butterfly Ranch closes out its weeklong first birthday celebration with some or our favorite butterfly photos of the year. Enjoy.… Read More

Who's Got Milkweed, Vladimir Nabokov, Seedballs and Monarch Butterflies Roosting? We Do, in our Top Five Blogposts

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Milkweed Guide, Vladimir Nabokov, How to Make Seedballs and a trip to the Monarch Butterfly Roosting Spot all made the Top Five Blogposts at the Texas Butterfly Ranch. Check out our most widely read posts and chime in to let us know why they’re popular.… Read More

Happy First Birthday! Cheers to the Texas Butterfly Ranch and to the Evolution of this Butterfly Blog

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Happy first birthday to the Texas Butterfly Ranch blog, where we love the whole life cycle. Read on to learn how we came about blogging and how our education continues.… Read More

Butterfly Gardening Update: Cowpen Daisy, Lantana and Other Native Plants Can Take Brutal Summer Heat

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Brutal summer a test for some flowers, but not Cowpen Daisy, Purple Mistflower and Native Lantanas. Check out our Biography of Cowpen Daisy for cultivation tips.… Read More

No Fireworks this Fourth of July, But How About Those Synchronous Fireflies?

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No Fireworks this Fourth of July? You can still celebrate with the natural fireworks show of the synchronous firefly of the Great Smokey Mountains. Check out the video.… Read More

Animal Magnetism: Monarch Butterfly Research May Help Explain Why Men Won't Ask for Directions

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Animal magnetism: Monarch butterfly research provides insight into why men often won’t ask for directions. It’s all about the cryptochromes.… Read More

Happy Summer Solstice! Sun, Bats or Butterflies, Cycles of Nature Restore the Soul

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Bats, Butterflies and the Summer Solstice: Nature’s cycles offer reassurance in light of a rampant wildfires, unusual floods and changing climate. Oh, and a dreadful economy.… Read More

Wildfires in Mexico Contribute to Growing List of Threats to Monarch Butterfly Migration

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After our visit to the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacan this spring we’ve been monitoring conditions there from afar.   The news has not been good. A Google search of “mariposa monarca” the Spanish translation for Monarch butterfly, returns disturbing … Read More

Butterfly Bookshelf: The Butterfly's Daughter Tells Engaging Story of Monarch Migration Through Girls' Road Trip

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Who doesn’t love an all-girls’ road trip? In Mary Alice Monroe’s The Butterfly’s Daughter, four women take a trip that mirrors the flightpath of the Monarch butterfly. They experience growth, forgiveness and different kinds of ‘metamorphosis’ along the way.… Read More

Milkweed Seeds Ripe for Harvest, Gather them Now for Future Monarch Butterfly Host Plants

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Milkweed for Monarchs seedpods are ready for harvesting in Texas gardens and along highways. Gather seeds now to make butterfly host plants for tomorrow and beyond. The silky milkweed fluff is an intriguing material once used in aviation lifejackets, too. Who knew?… Read More

Beating the Bushes Takes On New Meaning After Caterpillar Crawl and Lecture by the Effusive Dr. David L. Wagner

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On the conseqence of caterpillars, Dr. David L. Wagner sings their praises–food source for birds and mammals, flavor agent in our favorite foods, and essential threads in our wildscapes.… Read More

Park Openings, Caterpillar Crawls, Butterfly Bookreadings: Busy Weekend For Butterfly Buffs in San Antonio and Austin

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Butterfly and Caterpillar events abound this weekend in San Antonio and Austin–from bookreadings and park openings to guided caterpillars tours and a lecture by Dr. David Wagner, one of the foremost experts on caterpillars on the planet. Don’t miss all the action. Read on for details.… Read More

Butterfly Gardening Update: Cowpen Daisies Starting to Bloom, Butterflies Not Far Behind

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In the butterfly garden, a Cowpen Daisy update: first blooms appear on one of our favorite host and nectar plants. Butterflies not far behind.… Read More

High Winds, Cold Temps Made Migrating Monarch Butterflies Leapfrog Texas this Spring, says Monarch Watch

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Monarch Watch released its State of the Monarch Population report last week and the news was not good. Texas gardeners can help by planting more milkweed.… Read More

Austin Butterfly Forum Members Share Tips on How to Raise Caterpillars, Rear them to Butterflies

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Austin Butterfly Forum members shared tips on how to raise caterpillars and nurture them into butterflies at an informative session at Zilker Gardens recently. … Read More

How to Raise Butterflies-to-Be: Rearing Caterpillars the Topic at Monday's Austin Butterfly Forum

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Ever wonder about the best way to raise caterpillars at home for fun?  I do, and experiment all the time–with mixed success.  That’s why I’m so looking forward to the Austin Butterfly Forum’s “How to Raise Caterpillars” meeting on Monday, … Read More

Texas Hill Country Update on Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly Eggs and Caterpillars with Tips on How to Find Them

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Tips from the Llano River on how to find Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars plus a tour of the Texas Hill Country attest to the enduring resilience of native milkweed plants.… Read More

Native Plant Sales, Butterfly Events Slated for This Weekend and Beyond

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Native plant sales and how to raise a caterpillar workshops among butterfly events slated for April in Central and South Texas.… Read More

Gardening Good for Your Health AND for the Butterflies

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Gardening shown to be good for your health according to Aggie study. Butterflies benefit, too, when gardeners apply themselves to providing host plants.… Read More

CBS News Revisits the Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Michoacan, Mexico, Reports "Colorful Comeback"

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This excellent coverage of the state of the Monarch butterfly migration ran on CBS news March 25  and featured our friend, Bill Toone of the Ecolife Foundation.  Bill was visiting the preserves at the same time we paid our respects earlier … Read More

Monarch Caterpillars Have Supersized Appetites, Eat 200X their Weight in Milkweed Leaves

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According to Monarch Watch, the citizen scientist program that monitors the Monarch butterfly migration and started the tagging program, monarch caterpillars consume 200x their birthweight in milkweed leaves in about a two-week period. Commercial butterfly breeders suggest that a single caterpillar can easily decimate an entire one-gallon milkweed plant–175 leaves per caterpillar. Of course, it depends on the milkweed you supply. Our native Texas milkweed, Antelope Horns, Asclepias asperula, is much heftier than the Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, found in nuseries right now–like a beef steak compared to lettuce. Yet, when the Monarchs are flying, any milkweed is better than none.
Sound impossible? Watch the video.
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Second Annual Native San Antonio Festival to Feature Butterfly Talk on Swallowtails and Monarchs

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The San Antonio Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas is staging the second annual Native San Antonio Festival this Saturday, March 26 from 10 – 2 PM at the Land Heritage Institute. Activities include tree giveaways, a native plant … Read More

Happy Spring Equinox! Monarchs en route, and the Eastern Swallowtails are Back, too

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Happy Equinox and the start of Butterfly Season. Monarch butterflies and Eastern Swallowtails are fluttering back into our gardens. Be sure you have milkweed, fennel, parsely, dill and rue to give them something to host on.… Read More

Monarch Butterflies Arriving Soon from Mexico, But Who's Got Milkweed? Fortunately Some Local Nurseries Have It in Stock

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Millions of Monarch butterflies are heading to Texas for Spring Break, but who’s got milkweed for them to host and nectar on? Fortunately, some local nurseries have “got milkweed” in stock.… Read More

On the Monarch Butterfly Trail in Mexico: "Explosions," Joy and "Hasta la vista en Texas!"

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On the Monarch butterfly trail in Michoacan, Mexico: butterfly “explosions,” pure joy and a promise to see them soon here in Texas as they make their way north on their migratory journey.… Read More

Monarch Butterflies: Where's My Milkweed? NPSOT Program to Address Milkweed Shortage Tied to Brutal Winter

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Where’s the milkweed? Monarch butterflies will be arriving soon and the Boerne chapter of NPSOT will stage a free milkweed workshop next Tuesday. Let’s get our gardens ready this spring and put out a welcome mat for migrating Monarch butterflies… Read More

Damselflies and Butterflies No Slouches in the Reproductive Department

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From birds to butterflies to dragonflies, the Love of Nature is grand. Damselflies and Butterflies display amazing reproductive endurance and creativity, including the “mating wheel”… Read More

Butterfly Exhibit Featured at San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

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Live hissing cockroaches and scorpions big enough to filet comprise the insect exhibit at the Texas Experience Pavilion at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo this year.   Butterflies are represented by dead mounts and paper cut-outs. Organizers decided that … Read More

Butterfly Theories of Vladimir Nabokov Vindicated

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Vladimir Nabokov’s prescient theories on butterfly evolution vindicated by Harvard scientists… Read More

Butterfly Gardening Update: Cowpen Daisy Seedlings Thinned With a "Haircut"

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Winter butterfly gardening chores include thinning seedlings with a “haircut” to give each plant space and nutrients to grow … Read More

Canadian Food Writer Captures the Magic of Monarch Butterfly Roosting Spot in Mexico

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Canadian writer weaves delightful account of visiting the Monarch butterfly roosting spot in Michoacan, Mexico. Included: coverage of the local food scene.… Read More

Monarch Butterflies Thrive Despite Mexico's Drug Violence, Tourists Avoid Butterfly Preserves

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As Monarch butterfly population increases at Mexican roosting spot, tourists stay away, deterred by drug cartel violence… Read More

Cool Temps Make Some Female Butterflies More Promiscuous As Males Get Choosier about their Mates

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Female butterflies become more promiscuous when the weather cools, says a recent Yale study. Their male partners get choosier about their mates.… Read More

Milkweed for Monarchs: More Tips for Creating Your Butterfly Habitat

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Plant it and they will come: More milkweed planting tips for bringing Monarch butterflies into your garden.… Read More

Seedball Dispensers Made From Gumball Machines–An Idea for Texas

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California designers have a great idea for Texas: Seedball dispensers made from retrofitted gumball machines. Load them up with native butterfly host and nectar plant seed and watch your butterfly garden take root!… Read More

Happy Solstice! Celebrate by Making Seedballs For 2011 Butterfly Garden

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Celebrate the Winter Solstice by making seedballs that will grow into next year’s butterfly garden. Check out the Butterflybeat’s Recipe for Seedball success.… Read More

Collect and Sow Native Seeds for Your Spring Butterfly Garden Now

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Collecting and sowing native seed for your Texas butterfly garden is easy and gratifying. One of our favorites is the Cowpen Daisy.… Read More

Butterflies Made a Darwin Doubter of Vladimir Nabokov

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The magic of butterflies made a Darwin doubter out of Vladimir Nabokov. Their ability to mimic and adapt made him question evolution.… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Mexico A Model for Reforestation Efforts

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Monarch butterfly preserve in Michoacan, Mexico is a model for reforestation efforts. But can it really save the Monarch butterfly migration?… Read More

Saving Texas Butterflies Highlighted by WFAA in Dallas

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WFAA television in Dallas assembled a beautiful segment on the new National Butterfly Center in Mission.  The two-minute segment provides footage of the new facility and offers tips on how we can all pitch in to help save Texas butterflies. You … Read More

Milkweed Guide: Choose Best Plants for Monarch Butterflies

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Central and South Texas Gardeners’ Guide to Milkweed Selection. With Texas as the most important state to the Monarch Butterfly migration, choosing the best plants for Monarch Butterflies is our responsibility. … Read More

Butterfly Evangelist and Author of Mariposa Road to Sign Books at Twig Bookstore in San Antonio

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Butterfly evangelist and author Robert Michael Pyle will appear at the Twig Bookstore in San Antonio to promote his recent book, Mariposa Road, the first big butterfly year on WEdnesday, November 11 at 5 PM… Read More

Monarch Butterflies to be Featured in National Geographic's Great Migrations Television Series Tonight

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Monarch butterflies will be among four species profiled in tonight’s Great Migrations series, which premieres tonight on the National Geographic channel.… Read More

Founder of Monarch Watch: Texas "Most Important" to Monarch Butterfly Migration

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Why are we not surprised? Texas declared “Most Important State” to Monarch Butterfly Migration by Monarch Butterfly expert Dr. Chip Taylor… Read More

Monarch Butterflies Mating in Flight Demonstrate Amazing Insect Stamina

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Monarch butterflies churn the butterfly love butter for 24 hours straight. Talk about stamina! And you thought they only conserved their energy to make the 3000-mile migration from Canada to Mexico….… Read More

Monarch Watch Announces Landscape Restoration Program to Bring Back Monarch Butterflies

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Nationwide landscape restoration initiative aims to plant milkweed and “Bring Back the Monarchs.” Butterflies to benefit big time.… Read More

National Butterfly Center Opens in Mission, Texas

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National Butterfly Center Opens in Mission, Texas. It’s president says butterfly nets deter interest in butterflies.… Read More

National Butterfly Center to Eclose this Week, National Butterfly Association Biennial Meeting to Follow

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Butterfly Enthusiasts to Gather in Mission, Texas for Biennial North American Butterfly Association Meeting, as National Butterfly Center Set to Eclose this week… Read More

Monarch Migration Update: Butterflies on the Move in Central and South Texas, Some Laying Eggs Along the Way

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Monarch Migration in progress. Peak may be past, but we may get a second wave. Meanwhile, some Monarch butterflies leave eggs in their wake.… Read More

Eastern Swallowtails Don't Get No Respect During the Monarch Butterfly Migration Season, But They Should

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Swallowtails merit your attention and some fennel, parsley or rue in your fall garden. Find out more about the gorgeous broadwinged creatures at The Butterfly Beat.… Read More

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars and Eggs Can Be Just as Intriguing as the Butterflies

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Monarch eggs, caterpillars and butterflies–oh my! Kids love to look for, find and observe the whole life cycle. Tips on where to find Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars as the great Monarch butterfly migration continues.… Read More

Pollinators Gone Wild: 32 Monarch Butterflies Tagged as Predators Make for a Dangerous World for Butterflies

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The dangerous world of butterflies: pollinators galore prove irresistible to predators as Monarch butterflies make their southward migration along the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country.… Read More

Austin's Bill Calvert, Monarch Butterfly Expert: "They've made their way into the hearts of people"

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Thought I’d share this article from the Bar Harbor Times of Maine where Monarch butterfly expert Bill Calvert of Austin, Texas spends his summers.  The photos in the article alone are worth the click-through. For those of us who’ve read … Read More

Getting your Filament on Queens vs. Monarch Butterflies, Part III

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How to tell the difference between Queen caterpillars and Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars: the discussion continues… Read More

How to tell the Difference between Future Monarch Butterflies and Future Queen Butterflies, Part II

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As mentioned in a previous post, one way to tell future Queen butterflies from Monarch butterflies-to-be is to observe them in the caterpillar stage.  Queens have three sets of antennae-like protuberances, while Monarchs have two. I say “antennae-like” because my … Read More

Monarch Butterflies: Down But Not Out–with a Little Help from their Friends

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Will 2010 be a boom or bust year for the Monarch Butterfly Migration? Only Mother Natures knows for sure. but with a little help from their friends, Monarch Butterflies are on the rebound after a difficult season.… Read More

Queen Butterfly or Monarch Butterfly? Sometimes it's Hard to Tell the Difference

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Monarch butterflies and Queen butterflies are frequently mistaken for each other. Can you tell the difference between the two?… Read More

Sturdy Monarch Butterflies Set Sail from San Antonio to Mexico–Peak Monarch Migration Predicted for October 18

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Who can resist the majesty of a newborn Monarch Butterfly?  Not me.  Every time I chance upon a pristine, perfectly formed Monarch butterfly waiting to make its mighty trek to the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico, it puts a smile on … Read More

Butterflybeat: Eastern Swallowtail Season on the Wane

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Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies are on the wane as their host plant moves out of season. As the weather cools, they’ll be back with the parsley, fennel and rue.
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