Resaca de la Palma State Park is a part of the World Birding Center network, and consists of 1,200 acres of semitropical land, bordered by the Rio Grande. “Resacas” are abandoned river beds which have become ponds teeming with wildlife. This Texas wildlife habitat is literally teeming with butterflies, including Zebra Heliconians, Sickle-Wing Skippers, and many other exquisite species. There is also a Butterfly Garden next to the visitor center with lantana and other plants that draw regular butterfly visitors. For tips on finding and identifying just a few of the species of butterflies you will see at the Resaca de la Palma State Park in Texas, see below.
Julia Heliconian. You’ll recognize this graceful butterfly by its narrow orange wings, outlined in black. A member of the Brush-footed Butterfly family, these lovely butterflies can be found in the tropical Texas woodlands of the Resaca de la Palma State Park. Their host plant is Passion Vine.
Zebra Longwing. This black butterfly has striking yellow stripes across its wings. Look for this slow-moving butterfly as it relaxes in the shade along the edge of the Texas forests at the Resaca de la Palma State Park. Its wingspan can be up to four inches wide.
Fawn-spotted Skippers. This lovely butterfly is a dusky brown color, with delicate white spots on the upper wings. It prefers the shady Texas woods of the Resaca de la Palma State Park. You may also see it flitting about at dusk.
Orange-barred Sulphur. This large gold butterfly has darker orange markings on its upper wings and a curved gold bar on its lower wings that look like a smiling face. The underside of its wings are spotted with brown. Look for this butterfly feeding on Texas flowers at the Resaca de la Palma State Park.
Guatemalan Cracker. This is a stunning butterfly with brown, white and black markings, with distinctive “eye spots” encircled with black on its lower wings. This is a medium-sized butterfly that makes a distinctive cracking sound as part of its territorial behavior. Look for it very carefully as it rests on the bark of Texas trees in the Resaca de la Palma State Park, as its spotting makes it very easy to miss. Cracker butterflies are also sometimes called Calico butterflies.
Blue Metalmarks. This lovely little blue butterfly is only found in the southeastern areas of the Rio Grande Valley. Its wings have a shimmery, metallic sheen to them, bright blue with black markings. Its fuzzy little body is also bright blue. Look for it in the open areas of the Resaca de la Palma State Park, or flitting along the forests edge.
Queens. Look for this orange butterfly in the open areas of the Resaca de la Palma State Park. Queen butterflies resemble Monarchs, but you can tell the difference by looking at the vein markings, which occur only on the underside of the lower wing in Queens.
Mexican Bluewings. This gorgeous butterfly is a large beauty with brilliant blue stripes on its wings. Look for it basking in the sun or resting on Texas tree trunks at the Resaca de la Palma State Park.