Painted Lady butterflies by the thousands are pushing northward in southern California. Like Monarch butterflies, with which they are sometimes confused, Painted Ladies are now heading northward to breed. But they’re not as predictable as Monarchs. Where exactly are they going? With a massive effort by volunteer citizen scientists, we can begin to piece together this migratory puzzle with butterfly checklisting. (more…)
Butterfly Records for South Carolina: 1 June – 30 November 2018
By Dennis M Forsythe, Emeritus Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Charleston, SC
Other than a successful Carolina Butterfly Society sponsored weekend 2-3 June to the Francis Marion National Forest, butterfly numbers and diversity were very low across all of South Carolina during June-August. A Midlands Chapter CBS field trip scheduled for 25 June to the Enoree District, Sumter NF, was canceled because of the lack of butterflies. Things did not improve until late August. As Harry LeGrande commented elsewhere the 2nd brood of butterflies seemed to be 2-3 weeks early this fall. So my 4 September visit to the Carolina Sand Hills NWR failed to locate any of the expected Dotted Skipper but instead found a Meske’s Skipper, a species which is more usual in late September-early October.(more…)
Expedition James Bay 2018
On June 19, 2015, five intrepid lepidopterists – Jacques Larrivée, Chris Schmidt, Rick Cavasin, Peter Hall and Max Larrivée – set out to explore the east side of James Bay in Quebec and identify the bogs to be monitored along a 10 degree latitudinal transect. Fast-forward to 2018 and this time, as a pre-trip to the LepSoc meeting in Ottawa, a new team of entomologists with a varied range of expertise, skill, and interests was put together to follow on the steps of that first 2015 expedition. Maxim Larivée, Rick Cavasin, Pierre de Tonnancour, Steven Daniel, Mark Walker, Toomas Tammaru, Patricia Barcellos, and Rodrigo Solis-Sosa met in Ottawa on July 3rd, 2018 and set out for an unforgettable experience. (more…)
New Study Reveals e-Butterfly Provides Unique and Important Data
Opportunistic data collection programs like e-Butterfly allow volunteers to report species observations from anywhere, and can quickly assemble large volumes of both historic and current data. But how valuable is the data? A new peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Ottawa used eButterfly data and a comparable dataset of professionally collected observations across Canada to measure the amount of new distributional and regional species richness information that opportunistic citizen science generates. We’re pleased to learn, because of great volunteers like you, e-Butterfly provides incredible data for science and conservation!
Take Part in the 2018 International Monarch Monitoring Blitz!
From July 28 to August 5, butterfly watchers across North America are invited to take part in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz to help provide a valuable snapshot of Monarch population status across their late summer range. Participation is simple: find a milkweed patch and look for Monarchs, counting the number of stems you examined as well as the number of eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and adults. Then, share your observations with Mission Monarch.
Getting the Blues: A View from Vermont
Although they measure barely an inch across, the azures (in the genus Celastrina) cause a mile of consternation among lepidopterists. Even as these butterflies present sparks of blue, their taxonomy remains cloudy and controversial. I won’t resolve it for you here. Instead, I’ll tell you some of what we know or suspect about these blues, including revelations from recent research in Canada. Along the way, you’ll discover how butterflies can expand our knowledge of nature, and maybe even allow you to witness evolution happening in your own backyard. (more…)