The past few years, my kids and I have been collecting caterpillars and raising them. It's been very rewarding.
Finding the caterpillars is fun enough. Finding them, identifying them, finding them food, and eventually watching the transform has been something we've really enjoyed and we plan on doing it all again this year.
I'd like all of you to join me in this project. I've got several things I'd like to do this year and I'd like some of you to participate one way or another.
1. One of my goals involves people getting more involved in this forum. I would LOVE it if some of you would share your reports here. I would also LOVE to see some pictures, especially if you can find some things I cannot. If you decide to give this caterpillar finding and/or raising a try, I hope you'll consider sharing your progress. If you're a facebook friend and don't want to join this forum for this project, but plan to take part, I would love to have you share on facebook. (I find nature too fascinating to not share it here and there.)
2. Another goal of mine is to find some things I haven't found yet. Last year we found some rosy maple moth and Io moth caterpillars that we had previously not found before. It was exciting. This year we hope to find even more that we haven't seen yet. One thing I'm planning is to look at some of the moths and butterflies that are in this area and choose a few to attempt to find. Kind of like a scavenger hunt. There's a few species that live in this area that I have not found yet and I hope to find them. I hope some of you will take that challenge as well. You'd be surprised how much is all around you going unnoticed most of the time.
3. We also have some plans(not sure how it will all work yet) to plant some new things in our yard to help attract butterflies. There's a few butterflies that I've seen that I've never seen their young. A big reason I haven't is because I don't have the host plants for their young. So we hope to plant some things that will encourage feeding as well as breeding.
4. Keeping track of what we find. I plan on putting as much as I can on this website. I also plan on, some day, putting together something of an album for our own personal use. Also, I hope to help an internet resource I have used in the past called Butterflies and Moths of North America. If you go to this part of their website:
you can find a list of the butterflies and moths that are known to be in your area(if you're in North America that is). Their website has changed a little since the last time I used it. They now use google maps. Their old maps had county lines and you could visually see what was known to occur in each county. I helped them update a few species for the county I live in.
What you can do is share your sightings there. They have some specialists that help out and verify sightings. They can use that data to update their information.
Regardless of whether or not you'd like to help that site with their information, you can use those resources to find just how many different butterflies and moths live in your area. You'd be surprised.
For any of you that live outside of North America, I hope you'll still consider this project whether it's for yourself or to share with this site. Personally, I know of some butterflies that don't live around here that I would LOVE to see some more pictures of.
So, I hope you'll join me in this project.
In the nature photography section of this forum you find a few butterflies and moths that I've found around here in the past. Feel free to look around.
If you have any questions or anything, just let me know. This really is an enjoyable project.
Insects and spiders... whether you love them or they make you shudder.
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