Small-leafed ground cover alternative food for yellow admiral cats

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Terry 3 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #47536

    monkey
    Participant

    In the past I have found yellow admiral cats on a very dense tiny-leafed ground cover, but I don’t know the name of the plant. They fed well on it & successfully pupated. Does anyone else know this plant? Having just moved house I have only a little of it in a pot.

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  • #47569

    Terry
    Moderator

    Thanks for that confirmation Norm. I guessed it would be a problem in getting larvae through on this plant. It is similar to feeding v itea larvae on Pellitory where the results are what you described. Strange how our V atalanta has adapted to pellitory and can make it right through the larval stage on this plant, although it much prefers stinging nettles.

    #47562

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Babies tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) is a member of the nettle family, native to the Mediterranean. The plant will support Yellow admiral larvae up to 3rd instar, but after that they tend to wander off looking for an alternative. Because of the very small leaf the larvae are unable to form their “tent” by pulling the edges of the leaf together, but sometimes get by with pulling several leaves together. I have tried it extensively, as it has the attraction of not being a stinging plant, but disregarded it for general use. If there is nothing else available the Yellow admiral butterfly will sometimes resort to depositing eggs on the plant out of desperation, the Red admiral is not interested in it.

    #47555

    carols
    Participant

    In 2011 I was living near Manurewa (Auckland) and, much to my surprise watched, a yellow admiral laying on “baby’s tears”. The eggs hatched and the tiny caterpillars fed on the leaves. Unfortunately I didn’t take good care of them though.

    #47553

    monkey
    Participant

    I googled soleirolia soleirolii & from the photos I found, I would say that this is the plant I have. I wish it was a previously unknown food source!
    The first time I saw the cats on it was about 25 years ago when I lived in Hamilton city. The next time was about 3 years ago when we lived in the country, at Koromatua (near the Hamilton LDS (Mormon) Temple). Having moved back to Hamilton city I’ve brought some back with me.

    I’m not good at uploading photos but will try

    #47541

    Terry
    Moderator

    It’s very important to see what this plant is as any alternative food-plant for the admirals that is not already known could have a positive affect on the Butterflies continued survival as it’s normal food-plants are systematically eradicated because they sting. My suspicion is that it is either parietaria debilis or soleirolia soleirolii but will need photo to positively identify. It would be nice if it’s a previously unknown food-plant.

    #47537

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Could you upload a photo, please, Monkey, so we can help with ID? Send it to photos@monarch.org.nz

    Jacqui

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