Butterflies of Greenwich Point Park
Early fall is the perfect time to spot the fluttering orange and black of the adult Monarch butterfly, stopping to drink the nectar of goldenrod and bush groundsel at Greenwich Point on its way to the mountains of Mexico. The Monarch may be one of our most well known butterflies, but there are scores more that can be found here and about 17,500 species worldwide. Butterflies, along with moths, are insects in the order Lepidoptera, which in ancient Greek means “scale wing.” The scales are what give adult butterflies a wide range of colors and patterns.
Butterflies have four stages of life – egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult – and undergo complete metamorphosis. Butterflies play an important role in the ecosystem as pollinators and as food for predators and parasites. Some species are generalists and can use many types of plants, while others require specific plants and habitats. The pollinator pathway and butterfly gardens at the Point are important for providing both nectar for adult butterflies and host plants for caterpillars, but having diverse native plants and habitats including woodlands and grasslands are critical for maintaining butterfly diversity.
Did You Know?
According to CT DEEP website, a recent regulation prohibits the release of butterflies, in any life stage. The intent of Public Act 16-17 (AAC Pollinator Health) is to protect the health of Connecticut’s native bees and butterflies. It still allows for captive-rearing of butterflies for conservation situations with educational institutions.
Eastern Tailed Blue
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Great Spangled Fritillary