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 CaterpillarAbout 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.