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      The Nature Report: Corona Butterflies

      The South Texas butterfly migration is in full flight and this blooming corona vine near Rio Grande City is teeming with a variety of the colorful winged creatures. Tawny-Hued Queens and a variety of yellowish specimens like the Cloudless Sulfur and large Orange Sulfur predominant.

      Several exotic zebras also flit from bloom to bloom.

      The aptly named Zebra with its bold yellow stripes emblazoned on black velvet wings is a striking example of the tropical rarities found in deep South Texas. The Rio Grande Valley is known as the butterfly capital of North America.

      The state TMs four southernmost counties are home to more than 330 different species of butterflies, many of them found no farther north than the tip of Texas. There are more than a dozen species gathering nectar on the bright pink blooms including the shimmering Pipevine Swallowtail with its iridescent blue flashing in the sun.

      Joining the Pipevine swallowtails are a handful of Giant Swallowtails. Mixed in with the myriad colorful natives are migrating Monarchs.

      They are heading south for the winter and are pausing for a brief refueling before winging across the Rio Grande and on to the forests of Central Mexico. Another tropical specialty tucked into the coronas attractive blooms is the Fatima. The Cinnamon-Hued Gulf Fritillary is frequenting the vine with a variety of others in a moveable feast of flashing wings and splashes of color.