The endangered Quino Checkerspots (Euphydryas editha quino) are flying on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge this spring for the first time in years. It selectively lays its eggs only on the Dwarf Plantain plant. Once found throughout California and into Mexico, the tiny Quino Checkerspot butterfly population is now extremely fragmented, which made it challenging for San Diego Zoo and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to find and collect eggs, larvae and butterflies for the recovery program. Due to the unique biology of this butterfly species, there have been many years when almost no Quino sightings were recorded. As climate change, drought and development have altered their habitat, the Quino’s future was bleak. (more…)
November Butterflying in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
In the northern part of North America, most butterfliers in the fall hang up their binoculars and cameras and head into semi-hibernation. However, more than a few simply head south in November to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I have joined them from Ontario in the past two years and have been astounded by the results.
While butterflies in most parts of the continent disappearor drastically dwindle by autumn, the number of species and individuals in southern Texas increases exponentially. Even on overcast days, you can see hundreds and even thousands of butterflies. Over about a month in the combined last two Novembers, I found 118 different species.
Canada’s Iconic Migrants at Grave Risk
From Coho Salmon to Caribou to the much cherished Monarch butterfly, migration is a key component of Canadian biodiversity. Migratory species, migration and movement all figured prominently at the semi-annual Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) deliberations on species at risk, held November 27 – December 2nd. Monarch butterfly migration is now recognized as a “threatened process” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Indeed, it is the only natural process with this unfortunate distinction. COSEWIC assessed the species as Endangered. (more…)
Team eButterfly Visits Florida
Several members of the eButterfly team attended the 2016 XXV International Congress of Entomology from September 25 to 30 in Orlando, Florida. eButterfly sponsored a symposium titled, “Keeping Science in Citizen Science” during the meeting. The symposium was extremely well received and inspiring to all of us as many of the speakers demonstrated the value of citizen science data in insect research and conservation. And of course, since we were in Florida…we had to go butterflying! (more…)
eButterfly and Nunavik’s Youth Team Up to Survey Arctic Butterflies
For the second consecutive year, eButterfly’s Max Larrivée teamed up with nine teenage Nunavik Inuits as part of a collaboration between the Montréal Insectarium and Nunavik Parks to survey butterfly diversity in the remote Québec arctic. The group led by Élise Rioux-Paquette, conservation officer for Nunavik Parks, and Elijah Ningiuruvik, Pingaluit National Park director, sampled butterflies inside the park during the first week of August. They focused their attention around Lac Manarsulik near the world renown Pingualuit Crater and along the valleys and canyons surrounding the Pivurnituk River, a unique ecosystem that flows from Ungava bay across to Hudson Bay. Conditions can be extremely harsh in the arctic beyond tree line from the high winds to biting flies, not to mention the extremely variable weather conditions. (more…)
New Mission Monarch Project Powered by eButterfly
Science, butterfly and nature buffs, and other members of the public across the country are being asked by the experts to get out and look for milkweed plants to count monarch eggs and caterpillars, then to share their findings with Mission Monarch, powered by eButterfly.
“Mission Monarch is an especially concrete example of something that can bring humankind closer to nature,” declares Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Montréal Space for Life. “We’ve made that our mission and we are pleased that this major project is giving people a chance to connect or reconnect with their natural environment, while helping to conserve this widely beloved species.”