IBCM Part 3
Last week, I was part of the third installment of the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management Workshop. This one was held at Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami (the previous two were held at the Todedo Zoo last July, and at the Florida Museum of Natural History in October).
It was fun going back to Fairchild after just a month. I saw more Atala butterflies this time than I did in February, however my February photo is better that what I managed to get this time around. On the other hand, I got a much better shot of the caterpillar this time, and managed to find a pupa to photograph.
There were huge numbers of Needham's skimmers (Libellula needhami) in the gardens.
Needham's skimmers (Libellula needhami)
The focus of this session was originally to have been on propagating plants, and we had a couple of really wonderful hands-on sessions from some of Fairchild's very knowledgeable staff. In response to participant needs and some newly-emerging information, this session also highlighted disease and prevention issues. Last summer, a new paper described unanticipated implications for conservation efforts that can arise out of infection with a very strange bacterial pathogen called Wolbachia, and I was asked to give a presentation on it. I enjoyed that a lot, because it was a very challenging talk to put together, and it was well received.
We had a field trip day on Tuesday that included stops: Bahia Honda and Big Pine Key. I had visited both of these spots a month earlier. It was fun to see them a bit further into the spring season.
The weather was much nicer this time around than it had been in February, however the earlier cold weather had taken a toll. We were looking for two endangered species, the Miami blue and Bartram's hairstreak, and saw neither of them. At Bahia Honda, I did get a photo of Martial's hairstreak, which is an uncommon species. The cassius blue is not uncommon, but I was happy with the quality of my picture.
Martial's Hairstreak (Strymon martialis)
At Big Pine Key, the group met with one of the site managers and then spit up for some exploration to look for Bartram's hairstreak. As we were splitting into smaller groups, Jaret suggested that some people tag along with me as I know Big Pine Key (somewhat true) and could help with plant identification (Yikes- so NOT true. I only know about a dozen species from that ecosystem). Still, it wasn't a disaster. We got to have fun and I got to see the imperiled Florida duskywing.
Butterfly Conservationists at Big Pine Key
Florida Duskywing (Erynnis brunnea)I really enjoyed the conference a lot. At the same time I'm happy for a bit of a pause in my travels. My next trip will not happen until June, when Part 4 of the conference will take place at the Oregon Zoo in Portland.