Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Friday, October 03, 2008

Purplish Coppers

Things are really happening in the conservation breeding lab at the moment. In addition to the Silver-bordered Fritillaries, Regal Fritillaries, and Swamp Metalmarks, we're breeding Purplish Coppers. We have been attempting to do a restoration project with this species for three years now. The problem is the population from which we planned to take founder stock. This once thriving population crashed unexpectedly two years ago. We saw no individuals whatsoever for either of the last two seasons.

Purplish Copper Caterpillar

About a month ago, we got a call from a contact at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, site of the population in question. The coppers were flying again in some numbers. We rushed out to the site and collected six females. They settled into teir eyy-laying cages for a day or two, then began laying eggs like mad. the eggs have hatched, and we now have 282 caterpillars, grwing rapidly. I expect adults within the next three weeks. We will be starting a new population up in Lake County, near the Wisconsin border.

Update: The first of our adult swamp metalmarrks has emerged. We have nearly two dozen more pupae that will emerge over the next week or so. This is only the sedond adult that we have ever produced in my lab. I like this photo because it really shows why they are called metalmarks.

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At 05:55, Blogger cedrorum said...

That is VERY exciting. You are doing some great work up there in Illinois. Can't wait to hear more news in future on these.

At 18:03, Blogger BentonQuest said...

Very Cool! The earth would be sadder without butterflies.

At 19:10, Blogger Ur-spo said...

it is a start, it sounds promising.

At 20:55, Anonymous Moe said...

Fantastic! I hope it will all work out. I'll be watching here in the Quad-Cities to see if any fly by ;)

At 09:45, Blogger T.R. said...

This is cool stuff Doug! Those metalmarks are coppertone goodness. Its great to have a job that stewards such beauty and diversity!

At 12:41, Anonymous Mark H said...

After all the prep work, such fulfillment to see your project succeed. GREAT Beginning, and beautiful photo..........

**We're seeing hundreds of those Carapid Beetles now...must be trying to get somewhere for hibernation, eh?

At 16:02, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

How exciting for you! I hope all goes well with the swamp metalmarks and the purplish coppers! I got a photo of a beautiful orange and white butterfly down in Rio Rico on sunday. It will publish in a post tomorrow (10-8). If you get a chance can you stop by and tell me what it is?

At 08:30, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Sorry for the sort reply, but We haven't been blogging much lately and commenting even less except in special cases. We should be back to normal in a month or so.

The Metalmarks and Coppers make for a great storyline.
Nice photos.

Thanks for the visit,
Troy and Martha


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