Photo of an eastern comma

Almost 70 species of butterflies have been seen in Dickinson County, Iowa, and the time of year can be told from which ones are most active. In fact, you can tell when spring is making its appearance by which butterflies are hatching after overwintering in the chrysalis state or from spots further south. Mourning cloak…

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Photo of a painted lady

1. The painted lady isn’t picky. Unlike many butterflies that have certain host plants that they lay eggs on and that caterpillars eat — the monarch butterfly host plant is milkweed — the painted lady has been noted to have more than 100 host plants. Caterpillars will eat thistles, hollyhocks and legumes. It is sometimes…

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Photo of red admiral butterfly

We’ve noticed a lot of red admirals lately. They might not be as big or as flashy as monarchs, but these little orangish-red and black butterflies are really neat. Here are 10 things that make red admiral butterflies (Vanessa atalanta) unique: 1. They like stinging nettle. We’ve all reached down to pull a weed and…

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Photo of an eastern swallowtail

More than 70 species of butterflies have been spotted in Dickinson County. And yet, the order Lepidoptera is made up of about 90 percent moths. So between butterflies and moths, there is a lot of fluttering action going on around us. (Learn the difference between butterflies and moths.) During the first Pollinator Education Series program, naturalist Ashley…

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