Marvelous migration

!!!!southern-white-on-bidens-vertcal

Great southern white butterflies (Ascia mounte) are especially abundant this year, as they migrate northward. Archbold Biological Station Executive Director Dr. Hilary Swain noted their abundance at the 25th anniversary celebration for Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge held by the Friends of the Carr Refuge.  Tens of thousands, she said, are nectaring along Highway A1A, shown above on common beggarticks (Bidens alba).

Saltwort (Batis maritima), a saltmarsh succulent shown below, is a favored larval food.

!!!!batis martima

Great southern white butterflies also use Virginia pepper grass (Lepidium virginicum), which seems especially abundant this year along Highway A1A perhaps due to the record rains in the months of December & January …

!!!!!lepidium

Limber caper (Capparis flexuosa), a clambering coastal hammock plant, is another larval host plant and remains uncommon and is shown below on Prange Island

!!!!capparis-flexuosa

They also use the sea rocket (Cakile lanceolata), a beach dune succulent that grows along the dunes of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, as a larval host plant …

!!!!cakile-lanceolata