November 19, 2008

RMP with Benton Basham of Tennessee and Weslaco, TX. Ben is a top birder and butterflier who has been extremely helpful to me. Photo by Jan Dauphin.

My dear friends of almost fifty years, Floyd and June Preston, and major field contributors to our knowledge of the U.S. butterfly fauna. Photo by Ben Basham.

A rare and pristine Gold-spotted Aguna, encountered at the NABA Butterfly Park. Photo by Ben Basham.

A fabulous fig sphinx moth (Pachylia ficus) found as a pupa in Weslaco, photo by Ben Basham.

Pitcher plants photographed at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station by Susan S. Borkin.

Susan Borkin photographed on the bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station.

Bob Pyle on the Bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station. Photo by Susan Borkin.
Swamp metalmark larva photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.

Swamp metalmark adult photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.

Ann and Scott Swengel looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Bob Pyle.

Bob Pyle looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Ann and Scott Swengel.

Karner blue egg.

Bob Pyle and Ann Swengel at the Bauer Brockway Barrens. Photo by Scott Swengel.



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Just a handful of wild bee species do most of the pollination work

Sasha Harris-Lovett, LA Times

Wild bees pollinate many crops, but some bees are busier than others.

On average, only 2% of wild bee species were responsible for 80% of the pollination visits witnessed by researchers around the world, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

“This study puts a spotlight on how few species actually do all the work,” said Mace Vaughan, co-director of the Pollinator Program at the Xerces Society, a nonprofit devoted to protecting invertebrates and their habitats.

David Kleijn, an ecologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, had an inkling that something like the 80-20 rule might be at work with wild bees. As he was studying the insects in farm fields in the Netherlands and in Southern Italy five years ago, he noticed something striking.


Migrating Monarch Butterflies Might Actually Take to the Highway

Heather Hansman,

The Monarch butterfly population has been in decline, but the North American insects are getting some unlikely help with their migration.

This month, a Pollinator Health Task Force, formed at President Obama’s request and including government agencies from the Federal Highway Association to Fish and Wildlife as well as non-governmental partners, released a plan to protect pollinator habitat and curb pollution from pesticides. The “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” calls for research into why pollinator populations are declining, public education, increasing and improving habitat, and forming public-private partnerships to execute these goals. But the plan also mandates some interesting infrastructure plans.


USDA Program Aims To Aid Pollinators

Rita Brhel, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan

It’s been nine years since Colony Collapse Disorder first made headlines, not only in the beekeeping community but also to the masses with reports speculating the effects of this mysterious, sudden disappearance of millions of honey bees on future supermarket prices.

Yet honey bees are continuing to suffer.

“Pollinators are struggling,” said John Holden, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. “Last year, beekeepers report losing about 40 percent of honey bee colonies, threatening the viability of their livelihoods and the essential pollination services their bees provide to agriculture.”

There has been a silver lining to the waning health of honey bees: an exponentially increased awareness of the
importance – and fragility – of natural pollinators to the agricultural industry, not only in the United States but worldwide.