Everything the butterfly gardener or naturalist needs to know about the relationship between caterpillars and the plants that help them turn into butterflies.
This book will become the classic guide to southern butterfly caterpillars and their host plants.
With hundreds of color photographs and concise information in a format that can easily be carried into the field, it offers an unprecedented tool for all butterfly gardeners, teachers, naturalists, students, and scientists in the southern United States.
No other book offers such a comprehensive discussion of Florida butterfly caterpillars and their host plants. It covers caterpillar anatomy, biology, ecology, habitat, behavior, and defense, as well as how to find, identify, and raise caterpillars. The book contains sharply detailed photos of 167 species of caterpillars, 185 plants, 18 life cycles, and 19 habitats. It includes 169 maps. Photos of the egg, larva, pupa, and adult of representatives of 18 butterfly families and subfamilies provide life cycle comparisons that have never been illustrated before in such an accessible reference.
Because of Florida's mild climate and diversity of plants, caterpillars thrive in abundance in the state. Florida's butterfly fauna consist of temperate species from eastern North America, tropical species from the Caribbean region (including 11 species of exotics that have become established over the last 100 years), and unique races that are found nowhere else.
For everyone who has wondered what to do about the caterpillars they find munching on a beloved plant, the authors offer this advice: "Watch them." Their value in the ecosystem is immense, as they provide vital links in food webs and help to naturally prune their hosts. And they reveal the miracle of metamorphosis, as the worm-like larvae transform into beautiful winged adults.