extirpation of butterflies by weeds

Jim Springer springer at naba.org
Tue Sep 15 22:30:19 EDT 1998

>For the past six years I have been observing butterfly nectaring
>preferences with
>particular attention to Purple Loosestrife.  With almost no exceptions the
>butterfly that regularly attends this plant is---Cabbage White (perhaps not
>surprising).  Our other European species, European Skipper, is gone before
>Loosestrife blooms (at least in our area).
>Has anyone identified other species using Loosestrife for nectar.  Even huge
>many-acre stands of Loosestrife have only a few Cabbage Whites, so even
>for them
>it is not a preferred nectar source.
>Name: Michael Gochfeld
>E-mail: Michael Gochfeld <gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu>
>UMDNJ/RWJMS and EOHSI, Piscataway, NJ
>Date: 09/15/98
>Time: 11:00:15

Hello Mike,

    In addition to Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae), I have seen many skippers
including Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) (very numerous),
Broad-winged Skipper (Poanes viator), Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon),
Fiery Skipper (Hylephilia phyleus), and Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) on
modest stands of Purple Loosestrife in north central New Jersey even in the
presence of other nectar sources such as flowering New York Ironweed
(Vernonia noveboracensis), Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculasa) and
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium sp).  On the other hand, like you, I have seen
very large stands of Loosestrife with hardly any butterflies on them.

Jim Springer
Mountainside, NJ
springer at naba.org

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