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caterwallin

American Lady Cat Pics

caterwallin
14 years ago

I took these a couple nights ago. I'm not sure if a butterfly sneaked into my yard and unloaded a bunch of eggs, but I have a lot of cats on the pussytoes.

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Here this one found a friend:

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I'm guessing that they might find the seed heads a delicacy? That would explain why I never get any seeds off of my pussytoes.

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This one is a bit blurry, but it shows how several are hanging out on the stems of the pussytoes seedheads. I noticed when I was outside that evening that mostly all of the AL cats were up on the stems like this. During the day they don't do this (not here anyway). They keep pretty well hidden during the day and come out like this at night. Pretty smart, huh! :)

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Comments (15)

  • bernergrrl
    14 years ago

    You have so much of the plant for them. They look happy and healthy. Interesting to see them come out at night too.

    Mine are still tiny and hidden in their nests.

  • bananasinohio
    14 years ago

    Oh!!!That explains a lot. I have been searching large patches of pussytoes and not seeing anything. Now I knwo what to look for and when. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your pictures are worth a million bucks. What would I do without you guys and gals!
    -Elisabeth

  • MissSherry
    14 years ago

    Those are great pictures, Cat - I've never seen so many clustered together like that! They do indeed love the seed heads, preferring them to the leaves, actually.
    They must have a mini-migration of sorts - I released my last one yesterday, and the cudweed is all dying back now in the heat. It'll come back in the fall, though. I usually continue to see a few American ladies throughout the summer, so maybe there's another plant they use that's heat tolerant, maybe rabbit tobacco/Gnaphalium obtusifolium.
    They occasionally come out in the daytime to eat. I think from the clear "spikes" this one from earlier in the spring had just molted -
    {{gwi:464108}}
    Congrats, congrats on the cats, Cathy!
    Sherry

  • caterwallin
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    BG, I have a fair amount of the plant. I got 3 plants in 2007 and they've grown pretty much over these couple years. I started 3 new plants by digging out little pieces of the older plants, so now I have 6, 3 of which are huge and 3 of which are about the size of my outstretched hand, and those were just started last year. I actually am dedicating a whole bed that's about 4'x40' for American Ladies. It started out just being a small bed, but since I've seen how they like to lay their eggs here, I decided to make it bigger. Right now I'm waiting for leaves to rot up and I want to plant Artemisia stellariana in part of it and probably a few Pearly Everlasting in part.

    Elisabeth, I'm so glad that my pictures have helped you understand the habits of the American Ladies. I was also wondering why I hardly ever saw them, and then it kind of just dawned on me that they might come out at night and voila, there they were! :) I hope you can see them now on your plants at night. I love the cats and of course the butterflies. I've often thought too what would I do without the people here...I've learned so much since I joined several years ago and am still learning. I really enjoy people's pictures!

    Sherry, Thanks and yeah, I was amazed when I saw that many together that night. They kind of looked funny with mostly all of them up on the stems, kind of like they were trying to escape a flood. Haha. Now your saying that they prefer the seed heads confirms it! I thought that's what must be happening because I didn't find any seeds last year or this year.

    Yeah, if they don't overwinter, they must have a mini-migration or something because she dumped a bunch of eggs here but I haven't seen any AL butterflies here yet this year. Of course, I haven't seen much of anything this year. It's very disappointing so far.

    I bet there must be some other plant around there that they can lay their eggs on if you keep seeing them throughout the summer. At least I don't think they'd hang around in a place where there's no host plant for their eggs/babies.

    That's a very pretty cat in the picture, Sherry!

    Cathy

  • butterflymomok
    14 years ago

    I have an Am. Lady butterfly hanging around, but no eggs. : ( I've got all the plants including pussytoes, cudweed, white sage, artemesias, licorice plant, etc. How can they pass up my smorgasbord? LOL

    Loved your photos, Cat.

  • MissSherry
    14 years ago

    Sandy, maybe your American lady is a gentleman. :)
    Sherry

  • butterflymomok
    14 years ago

    Well, he needs to get over it and get down to business! ; )

  • caterwallin
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks, Sandy! I'm glad you liked the pictures. I sure hope that the butterfly starts laying eggs soon, or maybe it's like Sherry says and the she is a he. Well, I hope some American Lady comes by and starts laying eggs. Yes, it sure sounds like you do indeed have a smorgasboard for them! :)

  • caterwallin
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I forgot that I was in two different folders when I was posting these and so I wanted to explain that the first two were taken during the day on June 6. The others were taken at night on the third. At night almost every one of the cats were up on the stems. For anyone reading this and has pussytoes and never get to see many cats, go outside some evening around 8:00 or so and I bet you see lots up on the stems like this, if they have seed heads yet anyway. I don't know if they'd have a reason to be up there if there's no seeds though.

  • KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH
    6 years ago


    Planted pussytoes in 2012. Two days ago, I was putting in more pussytoes since they were not spreading as fast as I had hoped. Was very happy to find that the reason I had put in the pussytoes had finally found my yard. First American lady cats I've ever seen and I figured out I have a bunch.

  • docmom_gw
    6 years ago

    Fun thread. I had a patch of pussytoes that I grew from seed back in Michigan. I didn't know anything about these butterflies, but was planting every host plant I could find. The patch was less than one foot square, so I wasn't expecting much. But, I found 9 big cats crawling around last summer. I was able to transfer a few of them to a wild patch of pussytoes I'd found in my "lawn," so they wouldn't run out of food. I hope they survived. I have moved to St Paul, but hope the new owners keep the garden going. Visits back seem to indicate they are miaintaining the native plants.

  • Tom
    6 years ago

    I have never been able to identify and purchase plants that attract American Ladies here in Central Florida. Anyone have ideas?

  • MissSherry
    6 years ago

    Tom, probably the best host plant for central Florida would be rabbit's tobacco, which likes well drained soil and can survive heat. I've never found a place to buy the plants, but you could probably order seeds or maybe find some plants growing roadside that you could dig up and take home. Here's a good link to what the plant looks like - Rabbit's Tobacco They've changed the scientific name to Pseudo something or other.

    You probably wouldn't find it looking like that, since it usually has American lady nests on it. It doesn't bloom until fall, at least here it doesn't, and I rarely ever see any blooms, because the caterpillars keep eating it down. It looks exactly like pearly everlasting, a plant that grows in cooler climates, which I've planted, but didn't return, couldn't take the heat, I guess.

    Sherry




  • Tom
    6 years ago

    Thanks so much, Sherry. I will look into this.

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