Great Spangled Fritillary
Okay, for some reason that name just cracks me up.
On a recent hike at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, I hiked the Chestnut Ridge Trail which exits into a butterfly garden. What a great way to end a hike. While the hike isn’t long (0.5 miles) or hard there is a lot going on in the woods.
On the edge, in the butterfly garden are two predominate milkweeds: Butterfly Weed and (her plain Jane friend) Common Milkweed.
The butterfly weed is bright neon-ish orange with clusters of flowers packed tightly together creating a large landing pads. Kind of looks like an open umbrella turned upside down. However, common milkweed looks like sad melting pinkish snowballs.
Both are sources of nectar for the butterflies, a safe place for the eggs to develop, and a food source for the caterpillar.
When you are hiking in open meadows or along the roadsides, look for milkweeds and the variety of critters they play host to.