October 31, 2008

Bob, in from the field, surrounded by feminine pulchritude and a motherlode of Florida butterfly expertise: Kathy Malone, Jackie Miller, and Alana Edwards, at the Bonefish Restaurant in Gainesville.

Unknown jumping spider on Carphephorus corymbosus. Photo by Linda Cooper.

Jack Shaw, Buck Cooper, Kay Eoff, Bob Pyle and Lucie Bruce with their binoculars focused on the first Loammi Skipper (Atrytonopsis loammi). Photo by Linda F. Cooper.

Bob pointing to Loammi skipper. Photo by Linda F. Cooper.

Loammi skipper. Photo by Linda F. Cooper.

The following is an entry written by Linda Cooper, Osceola County, Florida

Monday, October 20

10:15 a.m The assignment was simple enough – find Loammi Skipper (Florida Dusted Skipper) – a ‘must see’ for Bob Pyle in his search for butterflies in Florida. His goal is high. He is looking for as many butterflies in the U. S.

as he can see in one year and it is already mid-October. He is taking pledges per species to raise money for butterfly conservation for The Xerces Society. We promised to help him in his search for this skipper in our neck of the woods. In a serendipitous moment we find Lucie Bruce, a Houston, TX butterfly enthusiast, has arrived at Bull Creek. She is invited to join Bob, Jack Shaw and Kay Eoff, who have driven from Gainesville, and Buck and me for a full day of walking wildflower fields. An extra pair of eyes is a great thing. We are wondering if we will see any butterflies today. The fields of Liatris and Carphephorus are fading fast. What had been filled with butterflies just nine days ago were largely devoid of activity in the cool morning.

Stiff breezes make following butterfly flight difficult but as the morning warms they begin to settle on the purple blossoms. The sharp-eyed Gainesville guys find the first Loammi – and then another. Soon we all begin to find them. One even had mismatched ventral hind wings with white smiley-face pattern on one side but mostly unpatterned on the other. Bob only needs to see one Loammi and we end up with ten! As we move farther along West Loop Road we find fresher Liatris and Ccarphephorus fields. Assorted swallowtails dance on the purple blossoms. Bob finds a Dotted Skipper, rarely seen so far south in the peninsula.

4:30 p.m We finish up by driving north on Cemetery Road through water-filled mud holes. At the end of the road we walk around the old cemetery, reading headstones and markers, shaking shrubs looking for White M Hairsteak. No luck with this one.

5:15 p.m Time to depart to meet Akers Pence in Melbourne for a quick dinner before he and Bob head south to search for tropical species. We end the day with 31 species and 249 individuals: life butterflies for most and an opportunity to spend the day with new and old friends in a beautiful area of old Florida.

So many butterflies… so little time!


 

The Xerces Society » News

Groups seek to protect rare butterfly whose only home is San Juan Island

San Juan Island is the only home to the island marble butterfly. Populations of the species disappeared from Canadian islands in the 1900’s and were rediscovered on San Juan Island in 1998. The species has suffered further decline since rediscovery and faces limited protections.

In the grasslands on south San Juan Island, several patches of bright yellow flowers are fenced off from the rest of the landscape.

The flowering plants are considered weeds by many, but to the island marble butterfly, they’re imperative to the species’ survival. This landscape is the only place the shrinking island marble butterfly population is known to remain, the Skagit Valley Herald reports.

“The populations have constricted pretty dramatically to the point that this is the only home of this butterfly on the Earth,” Ted Thomas of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said while walking through the American Camp portion of San Juan Island National Historical Park.

For about 15 years, various groups have fought for the butterfly to receive federal Endangered Species Act protection. On April 4, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service deemed the butterfly a candidate species.

That means the species qualifies for protection, but the agency does not have the resources to complete the listing process, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

Naming the island marble butterfly a candidate species is not good enough for some.

“I was very surprised by their decision,” said Scott Hoffman Black of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which has twice sought protection for the butterfly. “There is really one secure population left of this animal on the planet. It is much more endangered than many species that are listed.”

Continue Reading: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2016/06/groups_seek_to_protect_rare_bu.html#incart_river_home

 

Note: The Xerces Society is not responsible for the content of external sites.  Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by the The Xerces Society is implied.


LA Times: 6 easy ways you can help save the bees

Busy as a bee is an accurate statement.

According to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization working to protect bees, 75% of the world’s food crop depends on at least one pollinator, such as the honeybee. (California’s pollinator-dependent crop value is about $12 billion a year.)

That’s a lot riding on the journey of the humble bee and its pollinator friends.

Although bee populations have been pummeled by their share of difficulties in the last few years including habitat loss and the over-use of pesticides, there is something simple you can do to help:  plant bee-friendly plants, says Janet Andrews of Backyard Bees, an Orange County-based group that rescues, relocates and maintains feral honeybees in Southern California.

“It’s truly as simple as that and fun,” she says. “We can easily all do our share.”

Read the whole story here: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-0604-how-to-plant-a-bee-garden-20160531-snap-story.html

 

Note: The Xerces Society is not responsible for the content of external sites.  Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by the The Xerces Society is implied.


What Santa Monica can do about monarch butterfly decline

In 1997 there were more than 1.2 million monarchs overwintering in California and in 2014 only 234,000 – an 81 percent decline from the 1997 high, 48 percent decline from the 18- year average, and just over 10 percent per year. What has caused such a decline?

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which studies and tracks the monarch populations has several theories; the loss of milkweed breeding habitat, herbicides and pesticides, GMO herbicide resistant crops, development and logging at their over wintering sites, climate change, and extreme weather, such as the multi-year drought California has been experiencing.

The herbicide glyphosate, know commonly as Monsanto’s Round Up, used in both commercial agriculture and in backyard gardening, has lead to the decline of milkweed plants. Neonicotinoids (a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine), which began to be widely used commercially in the 1990’s, are also a factor in the decline of the butterflies. Neonicotinoids have been found in soil and can be taken up into the plant, and are lethal to monarchs.

Read full article here: http://smdp.com/what-santa-monica-can-do-about-monarch-butterfly-decline/155656

 

Note: The Xerces Society is not responsible for the content of external sites.  Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by the The Xerces Society is implied.

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