Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monarchs 2015

Tagged female (first ever!) observed 10-12-15 Tag # TNP-507

I have only one thing to say: THEY'RE BAAAAAAACK!!

Between July 16th and October 15th there were 8 monarchs in total passing through here (and tons more elsewhere) as apposed to last year's 0 (can't recall if there were any at all unfortunately). Since I'm in the city (NYC) I guess we don't get as many (although the diversity in general by my place and the neighborhood is AMAZING) flying through as you would in more open rural places (upstate, highways, Central Park (fields, meadows, woods, no light pollution, SATURNIIDS) etc). But it nevertheless pleased me to no end because seeing them like that meant that they were bouncing back.

And sure enough that's exactly the case as millions (3-4 times the amount in previous years) of monarchs have arrived in Mexico. I wonder if my tagged lovely made it there alright. I sure hope she did. God bless them all. Pic spam:

Female 10-10-15

The first two weeks of October were blessed with observations of these angels. I literally stood there for God knows how long camwhoring with such perfection. Then stood there for another half hour afterwards just watching them and playing with them (I had them walking on my fingertips but not long enough for pics) and I need to stress something:

Watching these beautiful creatures go about their business.......flitting from flower to flower gliding in circles around the buddleias they were taking nectar from has got to be the most soothing thing ever to ones psyche. I cannot find the proper words to express how peaceful and utterly happy they have left me each and every time.

Female 10-10-15

It's sacred. Monarchs have such breathtaking flight patterns......such power and grace.......I just can't......I honestly feel blessed to have witnessed such perfection. You may feel I'm exaggerating (I've been told I do so in matters such as these) but seriously go and watch them. Go watch them and just sit/stand there for a few minutes (or hours in my preference because I can't get enough) and just forget everything. Don't think about a single thing and just marvel at how something so delicate can be so utterly strong.

The beauty in it.......I really don't have the words. Just go watch them next season. Insanely therapeutic and if I couldn't love them's never ending.

I hope they all made it to Mexico okay. I hope to see many many many more. God bless Danaus plexippus. I hope you all have a wonderful year to come. Blessings to all!

Happy New Year

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on
To bring you luck, happiness, and riches today, tomorrow, and beyond.......



Saturday, July 25, 2015

NMW 2015: Halysidota harrisii

Halysidota harrisii 05-29-15 1st of the season

Happy National Moth Week!! ɛïɜ

Long long time no see I know. I have been without internet access for a few annoying months so I couldn't really do much as far as blogging but I finally got it back a few days ago and have been pondering on what to write........

So I decided to start with one of my favorites. Halysidota harrisii, which I've been trying to keep track of ever since they started declining a few years back and have thankfully started returning within the past few years. This season I have so far seen 4......2 adults and 2 larvae.

I do hope to see more. I think I have their life cycle figured out though. I think.......The adults I've seen emerge in Spring (earliest yet was May 29th) to mate and lay eggs etc. (on Platanus x acerfolia here and P. occidentalis elsewhere though I haven't observed this anywhere for occidentalis).

The eggs hatch and the larvae go through their metamorphosis overwintering as pupae and the adults emerging the following Spring to repeat the blessed process all over again. What I'm still not clear on is the details of their life cycle.

1. How many instars do they have? (I presume 5 but for all I know there could be 6)
2. Defenses? (Adults & larvae are brightly colored so I'm sure they're protected somehow. Although Platanus x. acerfolia and P. occidentalis afaik don't have any toxic chemicals for the larvae to sequester.)
3. Hybrids? Do harrisii and tesselaris hybridize?
4. Where do they pupate? (*Note to self: Check remaining Sycamore leaves early/mid fall for possible cocoons)

And I also did a JLR (Journal of Lepidopteran Research) crawl and nothing........nothing extensive written on them. H. harrisii is briefly mentioned if I can call it brief. H. tesselaris is mentioned quite a few times but nothing to note on the life history or biology or anything on either of these two species.

I'm specifically interested in harrisii since these actually occur here (apparently adults of harrisii and tesselaris are impossible to distinguish from each other without genital dissection. Had NMW BAMONA submission rejected cause of this) and the only way I know this is from the larvae. I have not seen tesselaris larvae here. Only harrisii. H. tesselaris I've only seen once upstate. Caterpillar was crawling across a picnic bench. I was about 6....♥

Any way........I've ranted enough. Pic spam!!

Spotted on my terrace at 7:40ish in the morning. Aaaah perfection!!

Was mostly very tame and didn't mind being handled. Which makes me wonder about them having chemical defenses as both adults and larvae. The adults can always sequester from PA harboring plants but the larvae whose host I haven't heard of containing any sort of toxic chemicals.......??? *Stumped*

Hoping someday these questions can be answered.......


Pics are of all the same individual.


And some videos!!

And the adult in the pics:

If any of these come up choppy.....I blame youtube. Taken with my phone and they come up fine there. Anyway enjoy nonetheless.

Happy National Moth Week!