These are some Web pages that I’ve found useful, along with a description of what you might expect to find about each. If you have any other recommendations, you can leave me a comment at the bottom of the page, or send me an email message. Thank you!
How to Start a Butterfly Garden!
This is a terrific introduction to butterfly gardening! Thanks to Sarah from Learning Haven for calling this site to our attention.
Caterpillars in Your Garden!
Ava Rose has written a very interesting and revealing article about "the other side" of butterflies -- caterpillars! -- and having caterpillars as part of your garden. I didn't know, for example, that caterpillars have 4,000 different muscles (as opposed to just 629 for us). Another reader, Bella, called Ava's article to our attention, and we're happy to list it here.
Shady Oak Butterfly Farm
A terrific source for live butterflies, chrysalises, caterpillars, and nectar and host plants. Their customer service is superb (we had to call them to iron out some details, and they were terrific), their packaging is superb, their shipping is superb, and their product is superb. Note that if you live in Florida (where they are located) you can click around and find a greater selection of butterflies. US government restrictions on intra-state shipments of butterflies (which are well-founded, by the way) limit your choices if you live outside of Florida, but you still have some beautiful butterflies to choose from.
Edith, the lady who runs Shady Oak, is also a great resource. You can find her on Facebook. But be sure to search for "Shady Oak" -- singular, not plural! The name of the place is singular, and if you use the plural you won't end up where you want to be.
Maple Street Natives
Maple Street Natives is a nursery in South Brevard County, Florida, that specializes exclusively in native plants, and it's a terrific resource for native butterfly plants and information. It's run by Sharon and Brent, and they've been in business for more than twenty years. Their knowledge and experience is vast. If you're looking for Florida native, you can't do better than stop by Maple Street Natives. It's a small distance off the beaten path. If you know where the West Melbourne Post Office is, you're in the neighborhood.
Kremp Florist Buttlerfly Resources
Kremp Florist, in Philadelphia, has assembled a page with many, many resource links, organized into helpful sections, like Butterfly Behaviors and Butterfly Gardening,
This is an online store that specializes in Florida native plants, and they are awesome. Not only do they have a great selection of hard-to-find butterfly host plants (like pau pau), and not only are the plants in great shape, but their packaging and shipping standards are best-in-class. I've ordered from them, so I know. If you live in Florida are are looking for native Florida plants as butterfly nectar sources or host plants, and you can't find them in your local nurseries, you can trust Mail-Order Natives.
Butterflies and Moths of North America
This is an incredible site. It bills itself as "a searchable database of verified butterfly and moth records in the United States and Mexico. This site includes dynamic distribution maps, photographs, species accounts, and species checklists for each county in the U.S. and each state in Mexico." You can browse butterflies by families, by location (of reported sitings), or by individual species, and there's a huge photo library.
This is a horitcultural site rather than a butterfly site, but when you're in the butterfly business then you are, ipso facto, in the plant business, and this is the site I use most when researching host and nectar plants -- growing habits, required conditions, and everything you need to know to successfully grow a plant. As a bonus, you can also link to sellers who can provide plants that you can't find in your local area.
Live Monarch Foundation
This site is devoted exclusively to helping to spread Monarchs, but besides milkweed seeds and milkweed plants, they also sell the protective mesh enclosures that I find indispensable to raising caterpillars, and other supplies that can be used for any species.
One bad thing about the Live Monarch Web site is that it was developed using some marginal tools and techniques, and as a result pieces of it may not "work" on many Web browsers. Their idea of addressing this problem is to provide a little link that says "If you cannot see the above NavigationPlease click here," which links you to a less-squirrely page. However, the extra trouble that they create for you in attempting to use their site will probably be offset by the wealth of information and products that they offer, so it pays to be patient.
The Butterflies Outside Your Window
This great resource of links to information about butterfly species in the US and around the world was assembled by Emma the Scout!
The Butterfly Farm
The original Butterfly Farm is on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, but it's now branched out to add St. Thomas, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. If you're visiting any of these places, a trip to the Butterfly Farm is well worth your while. There are scores of butterfly species to see, and knowledgable docents. Go as early in the morning as you can -- when they first open is best.