Common North American Butterflies

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Common North American Butterflies
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3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th
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This is a short "storybook style field guide" that can be be used with other materials to explore butterfly groups, habits, and life cycles. I did confirm that all of these are very widespread. If they are more prevalent in the eastern US, look into western relatives (ie. anise swallowtails). All types shown do feed on wild carrot, which is the visual reference spot that they either take off from or land on in the short film. Different butterfly positions are shown to display how they really appear, which is more complex than when seen in dorsal view only.

Students could be led to speculate on the purpose of the insect group's bright patterns and colors. While needed to find mates, the forms are somewhat a flash to predators that may be offset by the spots looking like "eyes," or smaller spot patterns just deflecting focus away from the more essential body parts. (Butterflies often still fly if only missing a bite or two from the edges). Notice the bright spot locations on various ones, even if they are not as much like "eyes" as the buckeye.

And the decorations can work more elaborately. Look into the fluttering of Juniper (Olive) Hairstreak extensions on the back wings in the youtube links here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekHmE_WaB5c and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvlJBjpAoK0

Explore things like how Anise Swallowtail caterpillars react by showing scary "stinkhorns" if disturbed. And what benefit does the red spotted purple caterpillar get from looking like something we don't want on car windshields (especially when it's not moving)?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruRLT3GwRVc

If you have one nearby, you might find out if there is a Monarch "waystation" in your area. For more information , go to http://www.monarchwatch.org
Or: have your class tune into the tracking reports of this species as it goes through its annual migration at http://www.journeynorth.org

Also the Wild Carrot itself is interesting... (Queen Anne's lace is another name). Why is that single small dark flower in the center of the big cluster. Could it look like a small pollinator to lure real ones? Flowers that are big and single are more obvious but get used up after one visit; alternatively, a plant can put out many small flowers but then no single bloom is spectacular. By having clusters, the plant can draw more attention to its small flowers being arrayed in a showy ball or disk. These lacy flowers put in water with food color will pick up the color from the water, which you might try in class. Why is another name the "bird's nest" plant?

See other films by DeepRiverVisions at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Deep-River-Visions
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Common North American Butterflies
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