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The Four Butterflies You See Every Summer

from Things To See In Springtime





Summer Butterflies (a little over life size) Summer Butterflies (a little over life size)

There are four Butterflies that you are sure to see every summer, on our fields; and remember that each of them goes through the same changes. First it is an egg, then a greedy grub, next a hanging bundle-baby, and last a beautiful winged fairy, living a life of freedom and joy.


In the picture I have shown the butterflies life size, but you must add the colour as you get each one to copy.


The first is the White or Cabbage Butterfly that flits over our gardens all summer long.


It is not a true American, but came from Europe in 1860 and landed at Quebec, from whence it has spread all over the country. In the drawing I have shown the female; the male is nearly the same but has only one round dark spot on the front wings. Its grub is a little naked green caterpillar, that eats very nearly a million dollars' worth of cabbages a year; so it is a pity it was ever allowed to land in this country. There are moths that we should like to get rid of, but this is the only butterfly that is a pest.


2nd. The Yellow or Clouded Sulphur Butterfly. You are sure to find it, as soon as you begin to look for butterflies. This is the one that is often seen in flocks about mud puddles.


When I was a very small boy, I once caught a dozen of them, and made a little beehive to hold them, thinking that they would settle down and make themselves at home, just like bees or pigeons. But the grown-ups made me let them fly away, for the Sulphur is a kindly creature, and does little or no harm.


One of the most beautiful things I ever came across, was, when about ten years old, I saw on a fence stake ahead of me a big bird that was red, white and blue, with a flaming yellow fan-crest. Then as I came closer, I knew that it was a red-headed woodpecker, with a Sulphur Butterfly in his beak; this made the crest; what I thought was blue turned out to be his glossy black back reflecting the blue sky.


3rd. The next is the Red Admiral or Nettle Butterfly. The "red" part of the name is right, but why "Admiral"? I never could see unless it was misprint for "Admirable."


Red Admiral Red Admiral


Tiger Swallowtail (life size) Tiger Swallowtail (life size)


This beautiful insect lays its eggs and raises its young on nettles, and where nettles are, there is the Red Admiral also. And that means over nearly all the world! Its caterpillar is not very well protected with bristles, not at all when compared with the Woolly-bear, but it lives in the nettles, and, whether they like it or not, the hospitable nettles with their stings protect the caterpillar. The crawler may be grateful, but he shows it in a poor way, for he turns on the faithful nettle, and eats it up. In fact the only food he cares about is nettle-salad, and he indulges in it several times a day, yes all day long, eating, growing and bursting his skin a number of times, till he is big enough to hang himself up for the winter, probably in a nettle. Then next spring he comes forth, in the full dress uniform of a Red Admiral, gold lace, red sash, silver braid and all.


4th. The last of the four is the Tiger Swallowtail. You are sure to see it some day—the big yellow butterfly that is striped like a tiger, with peacock's feathers in its train, and two long prongs, like a swallow-tail, to finish off with. It is found in nearly all parts of the Eastern States and Canada. I saw great flocks of them on the Slave River of the North.


It is remarkable in that there are both blondes and brunettes among its ladies. The one shown in the drawing is a blonde. The brunettes are so much darker as to be nearly black; and so different that at one time everyone thought they were of a different kind altogether.







Next: The Beautiful Poison Caterpillar

Previous: Self-heal Or Blue-curls In The Grass



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