I live in Crossville Tenn and am seeing a butterfly that is yellow with a long hanging. What is it and what is it doing?
Well, Mr. Smarty Plants knows a lot about native plants, but he is no expert on insects. However, he can tell you that yellow butterflies in North America are in the Family Pierideae (whites and yellows) and are often called sulphurs. There are lots of different species so there is no way I could tell you which of the sulphurs you saw. Now, about the long hanging you saw—it could be the butterfly's proboscis, it's feeding structure that works sort of like a straw. When the butterfly is not feeding, the proboscis is curled near the mouth. You can see the proboscis curled and uncurled for feeding at this link. Butterflies also have 6 legs that hang down and female butterflies use the ovipositor at the end of their long abdomen to lay eggs on host plants. Other than these possibilities, I think I would need to see a photo to determine what the long hanging is and what the butterfly is doing.
More Butterfly Gardens Questions
Butterfly gardening in Quitman, TX February 11, 2009 - We want to establish a butterfly garden in our back yard. What plants should we establish to attract the butterfly for food and host planting? view the full question and answer
Host plant for Northern Pearly Eye butterfly March 25, 2008 - Can we add to the host plant information for Elymus hystrix (Bottlebrush grass)?
The grass is host plant for the Northern Pearly Eye butterfly (Enodia anthedon).
It would be great to share this info... view the full question and answer
Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li... view the full question and answer
Why is butterfly weeds blooming in October? November 07, 2013 - I live in Horseshoe Bay Texas and have native landscape environment. Last year, in early September, I had a plethora of butterfly weed in bloom and a large variety and quantity of butterflies. This ye... view the full question and answer
Butterfly Garden, non-poisonous to Dogs, in Taylor MI March 27, 2014 - I have a small fenced yard with a patio that my dogs have free access to. I would like to create a butterfly garden and add other plants that are non toxic to my dachshunds. Any suggestions. I am f... view the full question and answer