Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)
Milberts Tortoiseshell Butterfly adult
This is a pretty distinguishable butterfly that you might see on your lawn, especially if you garden naturally and the lawn includes some dandelions, clover and other flowering weeds. Milbert's Tortoiseshell is a dramatically coloured butterfly, usually seen in the summer to early fall.
Orange outer edges of the top side of the wings are outlined with a variable width band which includes blue spots, brown and paler rick rack edging. The center of the wings closest to the body is dark brown, unlike any other butterfly with similar colouring.
The lower side of the wings is drab and textured like bark, so it provides protection from predators like birds.
The adults, along with feeding from the nectar of dandelions and clover, also visit thistles and goldenrod, and will also be attracted to fermenting fruit and sap.
The caterpillars feed on nettles as a preferred food source, so if you have some of this type of weed and a garden and nectar corridor large enough, leave some for the larval stage of these lovely insects.