Wake Audubon Blog

Butterflies of the Raleigh Area Field Trip

i Aug 6th No Comments by

Authored by John Gerwin, trip leader.

Our August Butterfly Walk began at Raulston Arboretum at 9 am on Saturday, August 5th.  We had 16 participants, 11 of which of which followed us to Prairie Ridge for part 2. (for about an hour at the end). Thanks to everyone who came out.

We had ~19 species including a cool one I have not seen in years, called Hayhurst’s Scallopwing. The larvae of the Scallopwing feed on Lambs Quarters, which is a common “weed”. Which is closely related to Quinoa.



Another good one for the day was a Gulf Fritillary.  This is a more “tropical” species that reaches the Raleigh area now almost every year. That is, early broods way down south (Florida, Georgia) grow up, lay more eggs, and the new ones sort of “drift” northward. Almost like the Monarch pattern. The larvae of this one feed on Passionflower.

The Pipevine Swallowtail larvae feed on plants in the genus Aristolochia. In the mountains, this is a vine called Dutchman’s Pipe and this butterfly is really a “mountain” butterfly, where it is far more abundant. Here are photos of the Pipeline and the Black Swallowtail, both of which we saw.


Black Swallowtail-underneath. Photo by JohnGerwin


Pipevine Swallowtail-hindwing-underneath-butterfly. Photo by John Gerwin









Red-banded Hairstreak:  the larvae feed on fallen, decaying leaves of Wax Myrtle and several Sumac species. It seems no one has documented them feeding on live leaves, or rarely. Those who raise them in captivity raise them on decaying/dead leaves and some studies in nature find the same thing.


Red-banded Hairstreak. Photo by John Gerwin


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