Journal archives for September 2019

September 09, 2019

SoCal Butterfly Count Events

Actually, we have two counts coming up this fall.

The first one up is the Big Bear Fall Butterfly Count. We ran this for the first time last year, and when I asked if folks wanted to run it again this year, I had about 15 people say yes. The fall Big Bear count count will be on Saturday, September 14. Most folks will meet at the Angelus Oaks Cafe at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and assignment to specific areas. Some folks, mainly from the Morongo Basin will go directly to their assigned locations, mainly in the northern part of the count circle. The Big Bear Count is often the best count in southern California, but this year conditions in late summer have not been too favorable for butterflies so we'll have to see what happens on count day. The roads in the Big Bear can be quite rough so if you have a truck or 4WD vehicle, I'd suggest bringing it. We have one area we need to survey (Arrastre Creek) that, at the moment, I don't know how we'll get out to since no one who wants to go there has a rugged enough vehicle for the road conditions.

We haven't yet set a formal date for the fall Joshua Tree count, but it looks like it will be on Saturday, October 12. Whatever the date, we'll meet at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center at 8 a.m. as we have done in the past. Conditions right in the park now are not very good for butterflies, but we have received some recent rains so things may improve by early October.

Posted on September 09, 2019 14:55 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 10, 2019

Every time the small cabbage white butterfly flaps its wings it has us to thank.

With the help of citizen scientists researchers document invasive history of agricultural pest.

Posted on September 10, 2019 22:59 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 2 comments | Leave a comment

September 15, 2019

6th Annual Joshua Tree Fall Butterfly Count.

Saturday, October 12, 2019, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where to meet: Parking lot of Joshua Tree Visitor Center, 6554 Park Boulevard in the town of Joshua Tree

What to bring:
Come dressed for a day in the field. Bring lunch, water, and sunscreen.

Also helpful are binoculars, cameras, and field guides
Cost: None

If you plan to participate, please let us know so we can plan the groups :
Contact Marilyn Lutz, email:

Posted on September 15, 2019 21:31 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 19, 2019

Observations: The Last Butterflies?

The Last Butterflies?
If the Trump administration weakens the Endangered Species Act, many populations that are already dwindling will disappear
By Nick Haddad on September 19, 2019

A recent U.N. panel on biodiversity reported that there are one million species currently threatened with extinction. Most of those are the insects that make up two-thirds of the earth’s species. What we know about these vanishing insects is largely informed by scientific studies that show the alarming, decades-long decline of butterflies, including those listed under the Endangered Species Act.

As a conservation biologist, studying these butterflies has been my life’s work, and I am deeply troubled by the disastrous modifications to the Endangered Species Act recently announced by the Trump administration. Indeed, the changes could jeopardize one of the act’s signature successes: that no listed butterfly has yet gone extinct.

Nick Haddad is a professor and senior terrestrial ecologist in the Department of Integrative Biology and the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He is the author of The Last Butterflies: A Scientist's Quest to Save a Rare and Vanishing Creature (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Posted on September 19, 2019 13:44 by andreacala andreacala | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 20, 2019

The Last Butterflies?

If the Trump administration weakens the Endangered Species Act, many populations that are already dwindling will disappear.

Posted on September 20, 2019 02:33 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 25, 2019

California's butterflies and climate change

Climate Change
‘There’s No Ambiguity. It Will Be Gone.’ How Animals Will Feel the Warming Climate
by Jane Braxton Little, September 20, 2019

"A blue copper butterfly perches waist height on a buckwheat blossom blooming in the cloud dunes near Bodega Bay. In the thick fog its gossamer wings are folded, keeping its sky-blue hues to itself and the milk-white flower. Normally found at higher elevations in California’s Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains, this colony of blue coppers exists in this chilly coastal prairie because of the low clouds that drip with moisture.
If the fog belt burns off permanently, this butterfly population will become extinct. “There’s no ambiguity. It will be gone,” said Arthur Shapiro, an evolution and ecology professor at University of California, Davis.


"In inland California, butterflies at various elevations have shown mixed responses to record-setting temperatures. During the state’s five-year drought, researchers found the number of butterfly species and individuals observed per year increased at lower elevations but decreased at higher elevations. A 2018 study documented those at sea level reversing long-term declines, while butterflies in the Sierra Nevada were severely harmed, said Shapiro, the UC Davis professor.
Butterflies generally do not do well in warm, wet winters, he said. During the drought, species at low elevation sites benefitted from hot sunny days and cold nights with minimal humidity. But the drought reduced the high-elevation snowpack that helps overwintering butterflies survive until spring. It may also have caused them to emerge earlier in the season, which could have put them out of sync with the flowers and other resources they depend upon. When ecosystems warm to the extent that they are no longer capable of supporting these and other species, “it’s bye bye,” Shapiro said.


"Of the state’s 300 at-risk species, those already gone include two populations of the Bay Checkerspot butterfly. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment predicts temperatures will climb another 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Glaciers will continue to melt. In the San Francisco area, where sea level is already 8 inches higher than a century ago, the 2018 assessment projects it will rise an additional 4.5 feet by 2100 – and possibly as much as 9 feet along the California coast. Northern California farmers will face water shortages of up to 16 percent in some regions. Winter storms will likely become more intense in a boom-bust cycle with very wet and very dry years. And in the Sierra Nevada, the snowpack will decline by two-thirds over the next century and temperatures will increase up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, according to an assessment led by David Ackerly, a biology professor at University of California, Berkeley.
As scientists continue to document the sometimes surprising ways that animals respond to heat, blue coppers will continue to lay eggs and nibble on buckwheat as caterpillars before spreading their bright blue wings as butterflies. But for how long? These are uncharted times in a hot and entirely novel climate regime.

About the author Jane Braxton Little:
Based in the northern Sierra Nevada, Jane Braxton Little is an independent journalist covering science and natural resource issues for publications that include Scientific American, National Geographic, Audubon, Discover, High Country News and, with this story, Bay Nature.

Posted on September 25, 2019 22:21 by andreacala andreacala | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 27, 2019

How to help save California's monarch butterflies.

What can we do as homeowners and citizens to help monarchs? A new study titled “Linking the Migratory Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly to Understand its Population Decline” by Anurag Agrawal at Cornell University may give some new practical advice.

He released a short video called “Beyond Milkweed: monarchs face habitat, nectar threats” that outlines his findings and recommendations.

Posted on September 27, 2019 23:34 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Chinook Observer Bringing back the butterflies: Project aims to restore vanished 'coastal prairie'.

Large-scale replanting to recreate the Oregon silverspot butterfly’s habitat began in August and will continue until February 2020, according to the U.S. Wildlife and Wildlife Service, which manages Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

This butterfly species has declined in abundance and range over the past four decades and is in danger of extinction. Only six of the 20 populations that historically occurred along the Pacific coastline from Grays Harbor County to Lake Earl in Del Norte County, California currently exist.

Posted on September 27, 2019 23:39 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment