Available only from this website!
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Winner of the
National Outdoor Book Award !
the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program

With this book in hand, readers of any age will discover - just outside their own
doors, no matter where they live - a world they never knew existed.  Stunning
photography is combined with expert information to create an up-close and personal
tour of the hidden lives of spiders, beetles, butterflies, moths, crickets, dragonflies,
damselflies, grasshoppers, ladybugs and many other backyard residents.  You won't
believe your eyes!  Each creature is shown in its natural setting and many are shown
progressing through the stages of their life cycles.  This is a one-of-a-kind look at
some of life's most fascinating mysteries - surprising, captivating, and perfect for
nature lovers of all ages.
.........................................What are Native plants?

A native plant is one that has naturally existed in a certain habitat for a very long time without being introduced there by
humans.  It has survived the local soil and climate conditions and has natural hardiness.  Native plants provide food for wildlife
like butterflies, insects, birds and animals.  Generally, the plants in North America are considered to be native if they were
already there before colonization by the Europeans.  Native plants may be better adapted to the habitat in a specific area, and
need less water and care if you include them in a garden with similar growing conditions.

*  Some native plants are beneficial (or even critical) in certain habitats, but may be invasive and undesirable in others.
*  Some native plants can become aggressive in small gardens due to self-seeding or underground runners, so choose wisely.

Be sure to do your research to learn which plants are best for your landscape or garden.  One way to get native wildflowers is
to contact a local wildflower rescue group.  They collect native plants (with permission) from sites that are scheduled to be
developed by construction companies.  You can also search the internet for native plant nurseries, native plant societies,
wildflower preservation groups or your local Cooperative Extension Service.  Here are some sites we found to be helpful:
www.for-wild.org    -   www.plants.usda.gov   -   www.plantnative.org   -   www.wildflower.org

There is great concern that some of the plants introduced into this country will eventually crowd out our native plants, especially
the ones needed by our birds, butterflies and other pollinators.  
The kudzu plant (Japanese arrowroot) is a dramatic example of
this problem as it covers and kills thousands of acres of trees and plants.
As education and awareness of this issue grows, it
should become increasingly easier to buy native plants for your own gardens.....preserving them for future generations.

We use a mix of both native and "friendly" non-native (those that will not escape into the wild and threaten native species)
plants in our butterfly gardens.  As we gain more knowledge and experience we focus more on our local native varieties that
would be good choices for our particular gardens.  
We used to think that any plant that voluntarily sprouted up in our yard was a native.  Now we know that's not always true.

......Winner of two Teacher's Choice Awards !

For every person who has ever watched the miracle of a butterfly
emerging from its chrysalis, this book is a treasure chest of
amazing butterfly transformations.  Readers are invited to
explore and experience the life cycle stages of many common
backyard butterflies in this unique collection of stunning
full-color, up-close photography all taken in a live garden setting.

All photographs on this site are copyright protected.
Email us to request pricing for digital images or prints.
We have thousands of photographs not shown on this
website.  Feel free to contact us to see if we have the
nature photos that you require for your project.
All of our photographs are taken with Nikon equipment.

Click HERE to see our sample gallery.

1 Tim 5:18
For wholesale pricing of BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLES
BACKYARD BUGS contact our publisher:

For wholesale pricing of NATURE'S NOTES
contact our other publisher:
The Life Cycles of Butterflies front cover

What are the differences between a butterfly and a moth?

*  Usually butterflies are active during the day and moths fly at night, but there are exceptions.
*  Butterflies have thread-like antennae with small knobs at the end.
*  Moth antennae often look like little feathers, especially on the males.
*  Most butterflies have an exposed chrysalis, while many moths spin silk cocoons to hide theirs.
*  Moths often have very fuzzy, thick bodies and hairy legs.  Butterflies are more smooth.
..We are the authors of these 5 books:
.."The Life Cycles of Butterflies"
.."The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs"
.."Nature's Notes"
.."A World Without Butterflies"
.."Butterflies of North America"
~ ~ ~ ~  Butterfly or Nature presentations  ~ ~ ~ ~

Meet the authors
- book signing and sales, observe and
Butterfly and Bug show and tell -  life cycle presentation,
educational display setups, insect specimens to observe

Nature photography - camera basics, how to photograph
insects in the wild, tips and tricks for great shots, our secrets!

Gardening for butterflies - attracting butterflies and              
hummingbirds to your yard, habitat conservation with native
plantings, how to hand-raise butterflies and moths

Insect life cycles - learn about ladybugs, lightning bugs,       
praying mantis, beetles, dragonflies, and more!

Making nature fun! - get your hands on nature, dirt won't
hurt, what's under that log, let's explore the creek, nature projects

We offer a wide range of presentations tailored to your particular
group, class, club, convention, or other event.

~   ~   ~   ~   Click here for more details   ~   ~   ~   ~
Copyright 2000 - 2019 Judy Burris & Wayne Richards
contact us:  judyburris@twc.com
Teacher's Choice Award
..Winner of 3 national awards & 2 international awards !
photography for :

magazines - websites
blogs - brochures
newsletters - ads
books - lesson plans
digital slide shows
display panels
park signs
Recommended by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Recommended by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Regardless of age, we all enjoy the fun of discovering new
insights to our natural world. Nature’s Notes delivers this joy
using “
bite-sized learning” text and hundreds of dazzling close-up
photos to unlock scores of fascinating secrets. The fast-paced
format features mini-articles and sidebars with fun and
as well as backyard explorations revealing all kinds of
hidden natural treasures.
Each butterfly is photographed as an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and winged
adult.  This book makes a great gift and is a wonderful teaching tool for
students, teachers and parents.
GOLD seal winner
our Etsy shop - unique
handmade gifts for sale

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What a wonderful experience for our students
and teachers!  Their presentation was hands-on
and engaging as well as child-friendly.  Their
enthusiasm for nature and the outdoors is
contagious, and I would highly recommend
them for visits to other schools."
Lisa Dieso, Associate Director
Northern Kentucky Montessori Center
click HERE
to look inside
our book !
221 awesome pages!

Hundreds of gorgeous
nature photos!

Self-published and
signed by the authors.
click HERE to peek inside!
Sister and brother naturalists Judy Burris and Wayne
Richards from northern Kentucky are public speakers
and the authors and photographers of many award
winning nature books.
More than 50 butterfly species
and hundreds of beautiful photos!
Limited Edition
get yours while they last!
Our first book
Our 2nd book
Our 3rd book
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Our 5th book
A Summer Experiment
Family: Lycaenidae
Hops Azure,
Celastrina humulus or not?

During the week of June 26, 2017 I witnessed a summer azure butterfly spending a great deal of
time investigating my hop vines (
Humulus). I did not give much thought to this until I saw her
bend her abdomen and appear to lay an egg. My first thought was that my hop vines must be a
false host plant, just like my wafer ash tree (
Ptelea trifoliata) is for this species of butterfly. I
have seen many spring azures lay eggs on the sweet-smelling wafer ash blooms, only to die
shortly afterwards during the caterpillar's first instar. So I expected the same results from this
summer azure laying eggs on my hop vines. From all of my research I could not find any listing of
hop vines being a host plant to azures except for the hop azures found in the western United
States. But to confirm my findings I collected several eggs on the hop leaves and brought them
indoors to photograph and hand raise if possible. To my surprise, I was able to raise and
photograph their entire life cycle while the azures ate only the hop leaves. So the question I am
left with is this... is the range for the hops azure a lot larger than previously documented, or are
hop vines a valid host for more than just the hops azure subspecies?
I live in Northern Kentucky (38.9989° N, 84.6266° W).
- Wayne Richards -

Soil type needed‎: ‎Moist, well-drained, deep and rich with organic matter.
Range‎: ‎Pawpaw trees grow in zones 5 - 8 in shady forest understory and along woodland edges.
Pawpaw trees are highly frost tolerant and very hardy in woodland habitats, but they do not thrive
in areas with low humidity, dry winds or cool summers. The young trees are sensitive to full sunlight
and require partial shade for the first year or two.

The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to North America. Pawpaw fruits have a sweet flavor
somewhat similar to banana and are commonly eaten raw, but also make an excellent addition to
ice cream and baked desserts. The fresh ripe fruits only last a couple of days once picked, but the
pulp can be frozen for use later.

One of the main reasons that I have a fondness for this tree is the fact that it is the only plant (tree)
that our native butterfly the zebra swallowtail (Protographium marcellus) can use as a host plant to
feed its caterpillars. Pawpaw flowers are insect-pollinated by various flies and beetles instead of bees.
The flowers produce a faint odor similar to that of rotting meat to attract blowflies for pollination.
Each flower has several ovaries and can produce multiple fruits. To ensure a good crop yield,
cross-pollination of at least two different genetic varieties of pawpaw is recommended. The flowers
are produced from fuzzy brown buds in early spring at the same time as, or slightly before, the new
leaves appear from pointed buds.

Pawpaws spread locally primarily by root suckers from a parent tree, producing a single-clone patch or colony. They cannot be successfully transplanted by digging
because their fragile root hairs tend to break, causing the sucker tree to die. Collection of the seed is the best way to grow your own pawpaw tress. The seeds need to be
stratified (exposed to cold) for 90 to 120 days. Germination is more successful if the seeds do not dehydrate. We have found that our attempts to grow pawpaws from
seed only worked when we started the seeds in full shade.
Most wild pawpaw trees in the woods are spindly with sparse foliage. But they can be grown in your yard with full or partial sunlight and pruned into a thick and strong
specimen tree with marvelous lush foliage and a pleasing umbrella shape. And by pruning a pawpaw two or three times during the late spring and mid-summer, it will
continue to produce new tender growth that attracts zebra swallowtail butterflies to lay eggs.

Newly-hatched zebra swallowtail caterpillars look like small bluish slugs and rest on leaves and eat at night. The larger caterpillars have several color forms, but the adult
butterflies all  look the same. The chrysalis can be shades of green or brown and is remarkably small compared to the adult butterfly housed inside. So whether you
grow this tree for its tasty fruit or to attract the beautiful zebra swallowtail butterfly, I think every homeowner should add at least one pawpaw tree to their landscape.   --
Wayne Richards --