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The Useppa Island Butterfly Society
began several years ago, when the island
donated a sandy and unbuildable 1/3
acre to the care of volunteer islanders
for a butterfly sanctuary. Six years later,
we see significantly more and varied
butterflies fluttering in the warm sun.
We find eggs the size of pencil points, as
well as understand why leaves disappear
overnight as caterpillars munch through
them. These are all signs that the
butterflies approve of our efforts!
Butterflies alight on almost any flower
for nectar. However, each butterfly
species selects a very specific host plant
for laying its eggs, and can detect them
from as far as five miles away. This is
the same plant these butterflies-turned-caterpillars
will use for food.
So, what began as simply planting pretty
flowers, has turned into spread sheets to
cross reference nectar versus host plants,
in the correct proportion, to successfully
attract less migratory butterflies, while
attracting more that will happily reside
with us for generations.
Of the many butterflies, we
have our favorites. Black and
yellow Swallowtails search out
Dutchman’s Pipevine (which
can grow over a foot a day) as visiting
butterflies lay clusters of yellow eggs.
When hatched, these larva/caterpillars
quickly devour the vine’s dense foliage
that has hidden them so well.
Orange Gulf Fritillary’s tiny tan eggs
are found on the underside of Lady
Margaret Passion Vine. The “hatched”
orange caterpillars then travel in packs,
voraciously eating the vine before
curling up into a chrysalis from which a
beautiful butterfly will emerge.
The most rewarding aspect of caring for
the garden is sharing it with visitors of all
ages. The Butterfly Garden encapsulates
what life on Useppa is about. Creating
a place of beauty, wonder, refuge and
learning, while relaxing and sharing a
space with family, friends and those who
wander the island. All are welcome here!
Make your escape to Useppa Island.
Paradise Without A Passport!
Useppa Island Butterfly Garden
Brian and Mary McColgan, Realtors® with Keller Williams
Luxury Homes International, Resort & Second Home Property
Specialists and Useppa residents for 30+ years, happily show
and share their “paradise” with all interested.
Discover Useppa Island 239.410.7850
A Sanctuary for All
by Karen Kauffman