Soldier Butterfly Danaus eresimus
Soldier Butterfly nectars on Spanish Needles Flower
Spanish Needles seems to be a favorite nectar plant for lots of butterflies here in South Florida. This Soldier Butterfly (Danaus eresimus) led me on a merry chase for days as it soared up into the tree-tops and out of sight time and time again, but when it got hungry, I finally got pictures of it.
Soldier Butterfly sipping nectar from a Spanish Needles Flower
Soldier Butterfly nectars on Spanish Needles Flower
Soldier Butterflies use Milkweed as their host plant, but I haven't found a Soldier caterpillar yet. I have one that lives where there's Whitevine Milkweed, and I've heard that they will use that or Florida native Milkweeds, but not the more common red-orange Asclepias curassavica Milkweed that the Monarch and Queen Butterflies lay eggs on. Most of us have the Asclepias in our butterfly gardens, so unless you're lucky enough to have a different Milkweed, you probably won't get a Soldier Butterfly unless it's just passing through. (...and if you have a Milkweed that will grow in South Florida that the Soldier Butterfly will use, I'd love to trade seeds with you!)
These two Soldier Butterflies are enjoying nectar from Purple Mistflower. I've seen them on it a lot lately.
I finally made the page that has pictures of the Soldier Butterfly and other butterflies from South East Florida that are similar so you can tell them apart more easily.
Soldier Butterflies nectar on Purple Mistflower
I found the Soldier Butterfly in the same spot again, but as usual it didn't stick around for long. I've searched all over that area for the Milkweed it uses, but no luck yet.
Soldier Butterfly nectars on Purple Mistflower
Smiles: Look at what I found! Now If I can find the host plant in that area, I'll be set! Here come the caterpillars (if I can find them.)
Soldier Butterfly nectars on a Spanish Needles Flower
Soldier Butterflies, Mating Pair
I didn't notice the bee when I took this picture:
Soldier Butterfly nectars on Purple Mistflower while a bee flys by
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