If you've walked around the property recently you may have noticed a gathering of blazingly beautiful butterflies on the pathway nearest to the fruit crop orchard behind the house. The gang of butterflies seem to be increasing in numbers these last few weeks on the path underneath the Gumbo Limbo tree at the U-turn pathway.
The butterflies wait for a visitor to walk right up to them, at first they look like fallen leaves on the ground. Then you get a little closer and one or two start to flutter and fly away. Take another step and all of a sudden you are surrounded by butterflies! It is truly a sight to behold!
Parke Lewis, our resident Biologist and Environmental Educator, accurately identified the butterflies as the "Mangrove Buckeye" Butterfly, it feels good knowing they have a name.
Additionally on site today, the Public Works Director of The Town of Fort Myers Beach was walking the site with Parke - we they found the butterfly gang a mystery and stopped to check it out. As they stood at the U-turn path and looked up, they noticed there was something mysterious with the Gumbo Limbo tree leaves overhead. Directly over the butterflies, the leaves had a white almost fuzzy and shiney substance on them and there were little chunks eaten out of the sides of said leaves. It turns out the Mangrove Buckeye Butterfly has found a home on the Mound House site.
FloridaStateParks.org states, the "Gumbo Limbo Tree provides a larval food source for a number of species. A large shade tree with red peeling bark, it can reach heights of 40 feet and is easily propagated by placing cuttings directly in the soil."
|Image: Antshrike's Bird and Bug Blog|