Admirals and Relatives
species is also often found on rotting fruit which makes it an
appropriate choice for our mascot, since the Moringa members are
fond of sipping wine .
- Common Name: The Ruddy Daggerwing, for orange color
and hooked wings.
- Description: With a wingspan of Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 3/4
inches (7 - 9.5 cm)., Tip of forewing is elongated. Hindwing has long
dagger-like tails. Upperside is orange with 3 thin black lines.
Underside is mottled brown and black, resembling a dead leaf.
- Life history:
watch for females, males perch 15-30 feet above ground on sunlit trees
- Caterpillar hosts:
Common fig (Ficus carica) and wild banyan tree (F. citrifolia) in the
fig family (Moraceae).
- Adult food:
from giant milkweed in Florida; Cordia, Casearia, Lantana, and Mikania
in the tropics.
hammocks and thickets. Nature trails, through the hardwood hammocks in
Everglades National Park, are a good place to watch for the Ruddy
- Range: Brazil north through Central America, Mexico,
and the West Indies to southern Florida. Strays north to Arizona,
Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Texas.
- Flight: Most of the year in Florida, but are most
common from May-July.
of conservation concern in Florida.T he Nature Conservancy Global Rank:
G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts
of its range, especially at the periphery.
Photo: Barbara Richie
Art Constantio, shares with us his photos and commentary on the Ruddy
Daggerwing caterpillar he observed in his garden. Art is a
"Galloping Gardener" who loves to take photos of visitors in his
yard. View his online album.
|My first sighting of
a Ruddy daggerwing being born in the yard. In the picture above
left, the cat is about a week old. I only saw the babies one day
then they disappeared for about a week or so. This picture is
when they re-emerged from wherever they were hiding. The little
guy had just finished eating the meat off a tip of a leaf. In the image
on the right, the Ruddy Daggerwing cat is approximately 18 days old
|Above - Ruddy
Daggerwing about two weeks old. Ruddy
Daggerwing cat the night before going into chrysalis.
| Note when
they are eating they stretch themselves out lots more than when they
are resting (and frozen) as shown above.
can file this under strange behavior of insects.
Over the many
mornings and nights I photographed these insects I noticed when there
is movement on the bush they are feasting on, all the cats visible to
my eyes at that moment in time...froze, i.e. if when trying to get a
better picture, or focus or set my timer or whatever, I bumped into a
branch or leaf, they all froze. Even cats several branches away
freeze. They would not move for several minutes.
I don't remember
another caterpillar doing this
had these butterflies here for years but until this year they made use
of a full size Strangler fig in the next door yard. Since the
damaged from Wilma was removed last year. I have kept a couple of
Strangler fig's in the yard just so the Ruddy daggerwings would have a
host plant here. In all the time they have been in the yard, this
the first chrysalis of them I had ever seen.
emerging from chrysalis.
for information on the Ruddy
Daggerwing at Butterflies and moths of North America visit http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1822&chosen_state=12*Florida
For photos and
other Butterflies in Broward County
visit Butterflies for Broward County
To learn about butterlies and how
to bring them into your yard with a list of nectar plants and
larval plants you can put in your south Florida garden
Florida Museum of Natural History where you will find a searchable
database of butterflies and wildflowers http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/
Garden Diary - A Guide to Gardening in South Florida - Butterflies