Home & Garden
Culpeper Times • August 9-15, 2018
For your beds: I am a huge fan of jobes fertilizer spikes. There are different spikes for different plants, each designed with the individual needs of the plant in mind. These spikes extend the release time of fertilizer to aid in proper root growth and healthy foliage. Worm castings are loaded with micro nutrients and healthy fungi that will aid in the generation of fibrous root growth as well as feed your plant and trees. While I am not a fan of watering landscapes all the time remember there is still a few weeks of warm weather left so keep an eye on your shrubs if they show drought droop a healthy drink of water might be just what the Landscaper Ordered. Most of all enjoy your time in your gardens and make memories. Thought of the month; "Each day you wake, you wake to a day that belongs to you. Own It!!" Donald Sherbeyn is the owner of Sherbeyn’s Landscape. You may reach him at 540-727-8835 or splclawn@msn. com. Visit www.sherbeyns.com.
How butterflies mate
➤ Landscape, from Page 8 prevention chemicals can have the same effect, so remember. You can not kill weeds, and grow grass at the same time.
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During the few dry spells we’ve been having, especially warm, sunny ones, more butterflies have been showing up around my gardens. I’ve spotted several pairs mating, which is the sole purpose of the short adult phase of a butterfly’s life cycle. In most species, females have less than a week to find a mate, copulate, search for host plants and lay their eggs on them. From a distance, a male butterfly finds a female by spotting ultraviolet patterns on the latter’s wings, but the males can get overeager, as the British website Learn About Butterflies explains: “During the initial ‘approach’ phase of mate location males will chase after almost any small moving object, including falling leaves, bees and butterflies of any species and either sex.” The response of whatever the male is pursuing is key to the next phase in courtship, when pheromones come into play. These chemicals
give butterflies two key pieces of information that determine whether they will proceed with mating: whether they differ in gender but of the same species. If what the male is pursuing fits those criteria, and the female is receptive, courtship begins. If a male discovers he’s pursuing another male of the same species, he usually battles his competitor for access to females. If the object of the male’s pursuit doesn’t fit into either scenario, the male continues his search for a mate. For some species, according to Learn About Butterflies, exposing a female to male pheromones is all it takes for the pair to copulate immediately. Other species require a more complex courtship ritual that can include “a protracted series of visual, tactile or olfactory stimuli and responses” before copulation. For example, courting spicebush swallowtail couples fly slowly together for a while, the male above the female, according to “Butterflies of the East Coast: An observer’s guide,” by Rick Cech and Guy Tudor. Lepidoptera genitals are among the most complex in the animal kingdom, with special claspers unique
to each species that fit together like a lock (the female’s genitalia) and key (the male’s). This helps prevent two separate species from mating with each other, although hybridization, especially in closely related species, is known to occur. During mating, the male butterfly, clasped to the female, inserts a spermatophore (sperm packet) into her ostium bursa (vaginal groove), a pouch at the end of her abdomen that is the terminal point of the tube through which she lays her eggs. As each egg passes down the tube during oviposition (egg laying), it is fertilized by the sperm. Butterflies often fly while hooked together this way, which Cech and Tudor refer to as “courtship flight,” but the term seems misleading, since the pair seem beyond courtship at that point. To see some amazing footage of butterflies competing, courting and mating, check out the “Sex, Lies and Butterflies” episode of the PBS series “Nature” (tinyurl.com/wi-butterfly). Once the female is ready to lay her eggs, she looks for certain native plants that serve as hosts for the caterpillars that will hatch out. ➤ See Wild, Page 24
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