Backyard Butterflies at SaddleBrooke Ranch
Backyard butterflies at SaddleBrooke Ranch flutter by, especially after strong monsoon rains as we had last summer. Shortly after moving to SaddleBrooke Ranch in June 2021, the welcome rains began, producing a plethora of flowers in Gerald and Claire Tietje's yard. Rains begat flowers and flowers begat butterflies. They were everywhere!
Gerald and Claire's Backyard Butterfly Species
As our Little-leaf Cordia bushes began to produce tiny white flowers, we began to see numerous American Snouts. I had never seen them before, but as you might imagine from their name, they have pronounced snouts and look very odd compared to other butterflies. American Snouts were the first to arrive, but hardly the last.
When our Chaste Tree began to show its bluish blossoms, it was a magnet for Queen Butterflies, which have orange wings with black borders and white spots. Sometimes confused with similarly colored Monarchs, Queens are much more common in our area. I have seen at least 50 Queens on our Chaste Tree at one time! Our Bird-of-Paradise and Lantana blossoms attracted other butterfly species. One large species was primarily black in color, with blue, orange, and white markings. When they landed on a colorful blossom their wings continued to flutter, and I was only able to identify them as Pipevine Swallowtails by taking fast-shutter-speed photos of them.
Another common species was the Southern Dogface. These butterflies are lemon yellow with a black outline on their upper wings that resembles a dog’s face, hence the name. Since butterflies typically keep their wings folded above their backs when perched on plants, the “dogface” is hard to see unless it’s flying.
Butterflies are probably our most loved insects. They are intrinsically beautiful; they don’t sting; and they don’t bite! Their wings include thousands of tiny scales arranged in colorful designs unique to each species. The scientific classification of butterflies is Lepidoptera, a word that simply means “scaly wings” in ancient Greek. People who study butterflies are also known as lepidopterists. Those who merely watch butterflies are sometimes called “butterfliers.” Interest in butterfly watching is increasing as binoculars and cameras with close-focusing lenses become more readily available.
As a result, butterflies are certainly fascinating to watch or study! Their four wings, two forewings and two hindwings, create a slender body that enables them to fly. Their snouts harbor a straw-like appendage, called a proboscis that sucks nectar and other fluids for sustenance. Butterflies have two long filamentous antennae, with sensory clubs on the ends that help butterflies balance, find mates, navigate the airwaves, and migrate. They also have receptors in their feet that allow them to “taste,” helping them find nectar sources and females to find appropriate plants on which to lay eggs so emerging caterpillars have food to eat. As these fascinating insects flutter from flower to flower, they also cross-pollinate them. Just fascinating!
Written by: Gerald Tietje
About SaddleBrooke Ranch
At SaddleBrooke Ranch, a Robson Resort Community for active adults is located in the North Tucson area of Arizona. Surrounding this Arizona retirement community is breathtaking mountain views and high Sonoran desert terrain. In this idyllic setting, SaddleBrooke Ranch offers a quiet sanctuary and an outstanding retirement lifestyle.
As you drive past the entry gate, you are welcomed by the tranquility of quiet surroundings, luxury amenities, new homes, and the relaxing warmth of friendly neighbors.
Learn more about everything SaddleBrooke Ranch has to offer for 55 plus living by calling 866-818-6068 today!