Friday, August 8, 2008
That sad looking caterpillar is a dead pipevine swallowtail. I don't know why it died, but I suspect that the Aristolochia manchuriensis that it was feeding on is just too toxic. The butterflies seem to prefer to lay eggs on it, and the caterpillars become so dense on the leaves that they sometimes completely defoliate the vine. But they don't seem to survive very well. Even some of the larvae that I brought inside and fed on Aristolochia californica died. But those that I collected from A. californica and raised on A californica did fine. So I wonder what is going on here. Maybe I will do a study next year.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
On Saturday, Andy and I went to Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco. They had their annual garden show, and as usual, Andy and I were there doing butterfly education. There is Andy in his orange shirt, setting up the table full of lovely flowers. People love flowers. Butterflies like flowers, but I think people like them even more.
We had Sunday to rest (well not really, but no butterfly activities) and then we did a talk for Five Creeks at the Albany Community Center on Monday night. They were only expecting 20 people at most, but more than 40 came. They mobbed Andy, as can be seen in the second picture. They just couldn't get enough of his beautiful displays. Thank goodness for tech geeks. I couldn't get the computer to show the monarch lifecycle, but someone in the audience got it going. I would have been lost without it. This was the most enthusiastic audience I have ever spoken too. They loved the film, and they loved Andy's beautiful displays. They asked many questions, most of which I could answer. I talked a lot about weeds, and even though the group probably prefers natives, they enjoyed hearing about what the butterflies prefer. We had a great time!