Butterfly Bucket List: Texan Crescent

In joining with Anna of The Transmutational Garden and her fun and informative Butterfly Bucket List monthly meme, let’s have a look at this pretty garden visitor:

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Texan CrescentAnthanassa texana, is a common butterfly species in my garden and throughout a wide range of the tropics and a large part of the western to southern United States. This is a small pollinator, only about 1 to 1.5 inches across with wings spread wide.  A rapid flyer, fortunately these gregarious butterflies rest frequently and I spot them sunning on all sorts of foliage in my garden.  They’re very good about posing for photos.

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While not an eye-poppingly beautiful member of the Lepidoptera bunch, the muted coloration provides good camouflage, especially in shady gardens and I think this little butterfly is quite pretty.  Brown, rust and cream comprise the  primary color scheme, but in such a fetching pattern of those colors.  Look at the sheen of blue in the eyes,

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…and along the thorax as this guy or gal, moves around the oregano bloom, modeling all sides of its fashionable summer wear.

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Texan Crescents hang out in open, dry areas and are common in urban settings. Adults nectar on a many different  flowers.  I routinely see them nectaring on the florets of oregano,

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ZexmeniaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

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…and sunflowers.

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Texan Crescents have always been part of the insect mix of my garden, but this summer, I’ve noticed more than usual.  There was quite a bit of rain in late spring/early summer, but if that was the reason for a population boom, surely I’d see more of other butterflies too and that hasn’t necessarily been the case.  The host plants for this butterfly are plants of the Acanthaceae family.  I grow several perennials from this moderate-sized group:  Flame AcanthusAnisacanthus wrightii quadrifidus, as well as several Ruellia species–a true native and a couple of cultivars.  Additionally, a new plant  has made itself quite at home in my garden–the native Branched Foldwing, Dicliptera brachiata, 

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…also a member of the Acanthus family and one that I recently identified; you can read about that  here. The Branched Foldwing is the only new plant in my garden that might host the Texan Crescent and I think it’s this garden surprise that is helping to gift more of these cuties to my garden and the surrounding areas.  I have found eaten and damaged leaves on the three Branched Foldwings that I’ve located,

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…and more damage on the Foldwings than on any other of the Acanthaceae plants.  Though I haven’t yet spotted eggs or larvae on the plants, my suspicion is that the Branched Foldwing are to thank for the larger numbers of Texan Crescents.

Regardless of where their botanical nursery is located, I’m glad to host these little butterflies in my garden–may Texan Crescents always flutter!

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Check out the The Transmutational Garden to learn more about butterflies and their importance in a healthy and diverse garden.

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22 thoughts on “Butterfly Bucket List: Texan Crescent

    • Interesting. I was just in Corpus Christi–south/central Texas coast–and at my Dad’s house there were quite a few butterflies and bunches of native bees. I wonder why your area has so few? I hope that with the coming fall months that you see more butterflies and moths.

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  1. You’ve been sleuthing out all sorts of mysteries in your garden the past few weeks. I am not seeing butterflies at the moment – but lots (and LOTS) of native “bumble”bees. And lots of wasps. I think maybe the wasp population explosion is putting a damper on the butterfly visits? Hard to say, but I’m trying not to fret over not seeing butterflies when I have so many bees. I’m determined to appreciate the ones who come!

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    • Yeah, everyone is seeing and complaining about the wasps, but you might be right that they might be, at least in part, the culprits of the I-don’t-have-many-butterflies this year complaint. I’m seeing a “normal” amount of wasps, nothing that I notice as a problem. I think you’re wise to appreciate those who are visiting and pollinating!

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      • In my garden all the extra rain actually seemed to put a damper on some of the later blooms that might be counted on to draw in butterflies. And as you know I’m adding in multiple mistflower plants, trying to up the ante for any butterfly bold enough to visit. But the bumbling-bees! They are great, and I’m happy to have them.

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      • That’s so nice that you have bumbles. I don’t think I actually have any bumble bees, but I do have a couple of different carpenter bees. At my father’s house, I was just amazed at the variety of native bees around his property–it was so gratifying to see them happily nectaring. There were no honeybees though, which I thought was interesting.

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  2. Great captures of the Texan Crescent. We had oodles of these earlier in the summer but I haven’t seen any for a while. And thanks for mentioning the host plants. I’m trying to put together a list of some that might grow well here as far a butterfly and caterpillar hosts go so I’ll be ready when I visit the local nurseries this fall and in the spring. The Texas Crescents seemed hand around the Liatris when they were in bloom, but I don’t know whether its one of their favorite nectar plants or whether it they just happened to be blooming and offered a meal. Wonderful post and thanks for joining in again this month!

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    • Can’t have butterflies and moths without their host plants! Apparently, the Crescents like all flowers with nectar, so I can imagine that Liatris was a nice addition to their diet. Thanks for hosting!

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    • Thanks, Frances. I do think it’s the new native plant that is hosting the Texan Crescents. I wish there were more butterflies though, they seem to have flitted off somewhere else recently.

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  3. Cracking photos Tina! Great post too, although we do not have your beautiful butterfly over here its good to know the plants that help them thrive. We have finally got our internet back up and running after several weeks of being in the last century! I am in a complete muddle with posting dates though, but think you have a list on your blog I can get help with.

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    • Thanks, Julie and welcome to the 21st century, though things are a bit dicey here–maybe you want to go back in time?? 🙂

      Check out the blog calendar widget on the right side of my blog. Hopefully, it lists memes that you like. I’m looking forward to seeing you in the blogosphere once more!!

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    • It is a nice butterfly, I’m beginning to see some of the yellow sulphurs that become common in late summer/early fall here. I’m sorry you don’t have many this year–hopefully, an aberration.

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  4. I think they are cute. I never noticed that blue-green sheen on their bodies before. I really like your shots from below. So light and airy. That butterfly looks like it will float up at any second. And that Branched Foldwing. gasp. I know some people like large and fluffy flowers but the ones that take my breath away are the delicate woodlandy types.

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    • They are cute–darling little faces, I think. Isn’t that Branched Foldwing just gorgeous?? I feel very honored that it’s decided to plant itself in my garden. It takes moderate shade, if you’re interested…

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    • When we’re treated to the sights of our many showy swallowtails, I think the little unassuming Texan Crescent gets a bit lost in the garden shuffle. I’ll bet you’ve seen them and they just didn’t register. Until I took the photos and really looked at them, I never appreciated just how beautiful they really are.

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