December 26, 2008












Bob and Thea Pyle with dwarf Agraulis vanillae Koko Crater, Oahu. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Bob and Thea Pyle with dwarf Agraulis vanillae at Koko Crater, Oahu. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Bob Pyle stalking Zizina otis on Waikiki, Oahu. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Bob Pyle stalking Zizina otis on Waikiki, Oahu. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Dorsal view of male Chinese Swallowtail (Papilio xuthus) at Kailua-Kona, photo by Jim Snyder.

Dorsal view of male Chinese Swallowtail (Papilio xuthus) at Kailua-Kona, photo by Jim Snyder.

Hawaiian Blue (Vaga blackburni) at Mana Place on Honolulu, Oahu, photo by Jim Snyder.

Hawaiian Blue (Vaga blackburni) at Mana Place on Honolulu, Oahu, photo by Jim Snyder.

Dorsal view of male Lesser Grass-Blue (Zizina otis) at Waikiki, Hawaii. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Dorsal view of male Lesser Grass-Blue (Zizina otis) at Waikiki, Hawaii. Photo by Jim Snyder.

Larval tents of banana skipper (Erionota thrax) in Kaua'i lowlands.

Larval tents of banana skipper (Erionota thrax) in Kauai. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Koke'e naturalist Laura Arnold shows RMP a native Hawai'ian mint.

Koke'e naturalist Laura Arnold shows RMP a native Hawai'ian mint. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

View of Napali Coast from Kalalau Lookout, with Kalalau Valley (rich in native plants) and beach in background; in foreground, red-flowered ohia trees, on which Blackburn's (= Hawai'ian) blues were nectaring.

View of Napali Coast from Kalalau Lookout, with Kalalau Valley (rich in native plants) and beach in background; in foreground, red-flowered ohia trees, on which Blackburn's blues (=Hawaiian) were nectaring. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Falls at the head of Manoa Valley, Lyon Arboretum, where we encountered the Greater Lantana Butterfly.

Falls at the head of Manoa Valley, Lyon Arboretum, where we encountered the Greater Lantana Butterfly. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Butterflies in the Mist, Halelau, Koke'e, Kau'ai

Butterflies in the Mist, Halelau, Koke'e, Kau'ai. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Butterflies in the Mist, Halelau, Koke'e, Kau'aiButterflies in the Mist, Halelau, Koke’e, Kau’ai. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.
Bob writing up notes at night with help from Laura's assistant

Bob writing up notes at night with help from Laura's assistant. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Tiki Torch butterfly net, net furled; perhaps the only tiki torch ever to make it through airport security.

Tiki Torch butterfly net, net furled; perhaps the only tiki torch ever to make it through airport security. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Welcome Back Snowman.

Welcome Back Snowman. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

Christmas with Grandson Francis.

Christmas with Grandson Francis. Photo by Thea Linnaea Pyle.

TLP & RMP, back from Hawai'i: this thing's almost over!

TLP & RMP, back from Hawaii. Photo by Dorothea Hellyer.


 

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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.

Read more at LATimes.com


Migrating Monarch Butterflies Might Actually Take to the Highway

Heather Hansman, Smithsonian.com

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.

Read more at SmithsonianMag.com


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.

Read more at Yankton.net