Wildlife

Swallowtails and skippers are two of our local birds and butterflies.

8 Butterflies of Ponca, Arkansas

There are lots of reasons folks seek out nature. During summer there are butterflies to find, and that’s always a worthy reason! Here are 8 butterflies of Ponca. Of course, they’re not just present in Ponca, or even Boxley Valley, but you’ll see them in many areas of North America. However we do have an abundance of habitats and wildflowers, and that means the chances are great that you’ll get to spot some of the following little jewels.

Lots of nature right here around Hare’s Hideout

It’s enough to indulge anyone’s shutterbug tendencies. The following photos are all from Terry Stanfill and are shared here by permission. These are only a few of the different butterflies that frequent our area. Terry can’t possibly capture them all, though, or maybe he could… but it would take me a long time to go through his millions of photos to find them. So you’ll just have to come out and see what other species you can find.

Butterflies of Ponca

zebra swallowtail
Zebra swallowtail

Zebra swallowtails can be found anywhere pawpaw trees grow. They lay eggs on the undersides of pawpaw tree leaves, so you’ll only see them where those trees grow. Here in the valley we have a lot of pawpaw trees in the deep, shady woods. Adult butterflies will drink nectar from a variety of flowers. If you’ve ever tried to get a photograph of this particular butterfly, you’ll know how hard it is to keep up with them as they flit from spot to spot!

American Lady and a skipper

There are Painted Ladies and American Ladies and they both look very much alike. Click here for a great page to help you tell the difference.

Swallowtails and skippers are two of our local birds and butterflies.
Swallowtail and Skipper
Monarchs are one of the celebrated butterflies of Ponca.
A lovely monarch.

Monarch butterflies will only lay eggs on milkweed plants, but they will drink nectar from any sweet source. These butterflies migrate to and from Mexico every year. They’ll each live long enough, if they’re lucky, to make one trip to and from.

If you didn’t already notice, those 6 butterflies (don’t forget to count the skippers) are feasting on the same type of flower’s nectar. That’s echinacea, probably E. purpurea, and the butterflies all seem to love it! It’s one of our local medicinal plants. At one time, these flowers nearly disappeared from our roadsides because folks over-harvested them. So please enjoy the flowers without picking them if you see any during your visit.

Question mark – that’s actually the name!
Ruby spot damsel fly, not one of the butterflies of Ponca, but still pretty!
Ha! Not a butterfly.

No, the image above isn’t a butterfly but a damsel fly. We have really pretty iridescent black ones, too. I really like these, so decided to throw in a picture of one from Terry’s photos over at his FB page.

Come Photograph the Butterflies of Ponca Yourself!

You can pitch a tent or bring your small camper and stay overnight in this gorgeous area. The Hare’s Hideout driveway is on the right just before the brake check pullover on Hwy 21 as you head down the big hill into Boxley Valley. If you’re coming up from the other direction, it’s the first left after the pullover. Look for our colorful sign on the gate and our red and yellow mailbox post. Book your stay through Hipcamp or call us directly. All the info is at the home page.

About the Author
Madison Woods is a local artist who makes her watercolor paints from the Ozark rocks.