Gossamer Tapestry

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Baltimore Checkerspot Habitat

This time of year is typically insanely busy for me- but this year seems to be especially crazy. Last Tuesday, Leon had minor surgery on his hand. He's doing fine, but that started off a really hectic time. On Thursday, I went to some private property near Crystal Lake to get some Baltimore Checkerspots for a breeding program. We got seven females, four of whom have already laid eggs in the lab.

Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)

Thursday afternoon, I continued north up to the city of McHenry to attend a meeting about Gypsy moths. This non-native species is just beginning to invade Illinois, and there is a lot of potential for collateral damage to some of our rarer native butterfly and moth species through Gypsy moth control efforts.

Ron at the Blacklight

From the Gypsy noth meeting, I got in the car and drove 2 1/2 hours to a spot west of Dixon, Illinois where I joined my friend Ron for blacklighting. Our quarry was Schinia lucens, the leadplant flower moth. This prairie moth has become extremely rare in Illinois, and we're looking to breed it in the lab. We got three (one probably a male) over the course of the evening. I drove home and stumbled into bed just after 3 AM.

Leadplant Flower Moth (Schinia lucens)
Photo: Ron Panzer

Friday morning, I was up at 7 to drive Leon to his follow-up appointment at the surgeon's. He was in great shape, so I dropped him off at his work, then continued on to my own. Friday afternoon I was supposed to go back to Grundy County to get more Gorgone Checkerspots and Silver-bordered Fritillaries. It was cloudy and rainy- probably just as well for me. I stayed at work and plodded through the afternoon then went home to pack and crash.

Pack? Well, yes, there's lots more. Saturday morning, I was up bright and early and drove to Kankakee Sands in west-central Indiana for this summer's Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network field workshop. We had a great turnout and saw some really cool butterflies, including Regal Fritillaries (unfortuntely I did not get a decent photo). From there, I drove directly to Toledo, Ohio, where I am right now. For the next four days, I'll be part of a tem of instructors offering a course on butterfly conservation.

I find what I'm doing right now to be exciting, a lot of fun, and utterly exhausing. At work, we currently have eggs from at least three imperiled species of butterflies, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this work unfolds over the rest of the summer. Additionally, I can't wait until I depart for my trip to southeast Arizona a week from Friday.

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At 23:45, Blogger Ur-spo said...

please get some sleep or you will be burned out by the time you get here.

At 13:56, Anonymous Mark H said...

I can't imagine leaving from IL being FATIGUED and getting into 110 degree heat.

GLAD Leon is recovering so well.......

GOOD LUCK........

At 17:47, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Doug, I so empathize with you! Finally things are slowing down for me and I am startling to get caught up on things. I hope you are well rested for your visit here. I can't wait to see you again!

BTW, they totally changed the intersection of Houghton and Sahuarita rd. It's all grown up now with a traffic light, turning lanes and everything! I hope those gypsy moths don't move into your state for good!

At 21:21, Blogger Will said...

That leadplant flower moth is absolutely gorgeous. All I could think of was how beautiful silk crepe fabric in that pattern would be (my years designing sets and costumes are showing here).

A big relief that Leon's hand surgery went well--please pass on my best. And I agree with the others--try to get some serious rest.


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