Egg Man Redux
Silver-bordered Fritillary (not my photo)
Last fall, I blogged a couple of times about the butterfly restoration work that I'm doing, and some of the frustrations that I was having with it. One of the species that we are working with, the silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) is common in parts of its range, but a very uncommon species of wet prairies in Illinois.
Collecting site in Grundy County
This summer, we're already off to a better start than last year. We were unable to obtain any breeding stock for the silver-bordered fritillary until the very end of the season, even though we made a half dozen trips to the collecting site in Grundy County. Last week, Vincent and I went back out to Grundy County and got a half dozen gravid females with lettle difficulty, a full 2 months earlier than last year.
Egg laying cages under lights in lab
For the past week, the butterflies have been confined in egg laying cages under lights in our lab. To maximize egg production, the lights are on for an hour and off for an hour, 24 hours a day. We have over 100 eggs from each butterfly, and they began hatching today.
If you look closely, you can see the eggs on the screen. The Q-Tip is soaked in Fierce Melon Gatorade and will provide food for the butterfly while she's laying eggs.
Because of the problems that we had last year, we sent Vincent down to the McGuire Center for Lepedoptera Research at the University of Florida at Gainesville to imporve our rearing techniques. He returned with great information about how to improve our rearing. If all goesw well, about 100 adults from this generation will be released at GLacial Park in McHenry County about a month from now.