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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Citizen scientists tracking Ohio bumblebees

Nolly Dakroury, The Columbus Dispatch

Luciana Musetti is fascinated by bumblebees.

“They play a vital role to our environment, and they are beautiful, too,” Musetti, an entomologist and curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection at Ohio State University’s Museum of Biological Diversity, said in an email.

When she can, she photographs them. That’s why she was excited to have stumbled upon bumblebeewatch.org, a website for citizen scientists devoted to tracking bumblebee populations in North America.

“The idea of the website is, if we can track where populations are now, we can start making conservation efforts,” said Rich Hatfield, one of the founders of the website.

Read more at Dispatch.com


State probe of Portland bee deaths finds lethal dose of banned chemical

Kelly House, The Oregonian

State investigators found lethal levels of a banned insecticide in the systems of bees found dead last month in downtown Portland.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture released results Friday of investigations into the June 26 bee deaths near Pettygrove Park, as well as two nearby bee die-offs in mid-June.

Investigators collected as many as 400 dead bees, although witnesses said the total death toll could have been far larger.

The Oregonian previously reported about the Pettygrove incident, in which Portland law student Corinne Fletcher stepped outside her doorstep to find countless bumblebees dead or dying on a walkway leading into the park.

Read more at OregonLive.com


World’s Biggest Bumblebee at Risk of Extinction

John R. Platt, Scientific American

I’ve seen some big bumblebees in my time, but nothing like South America’s Bombus dahlbomii. “It looks like a flying mouse,” says Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director for the The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “It’s huge, colorful and incredibly charismatic.”

B. dahlbomii is, in fact, the world’s largest bumblebee. Native to the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile, the queens of the species can reach an amazing four centimeters in length. That’s two to three times the size of one of the most recognizable North American species, the American bumblebee (B. pensylvanicus).

Read more at ScientificAmerican.com