Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 19 > Page 21 - Moths and Butterflies of Cape Breton - A Talk with Dr. Graham Bell Fairchild

Page 21 - Moths and Butterflies of Cape Breton - A Talk with Dr. Graham Bell Fairchild

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (736 reads)

Moths and Butterflies of Cape Breton A Talk with Dr. Graham Bell Fairchild All of these butterflies were collected on Cape Breton, mostly around Baddeck. Actual? ly, there's been practically no collecting done up here. Or at least reported. In the list of Lepidoptera of Nova Scotia, practi? cally all of the records are from one sum? mer's collecting by a fellow by the name of McDunnough • a very good man. He collected in Baddeck one summer. Most of the Baddeck rec? ords are from him and most of the Cape Bret? on records are from Baddeck. Very little collecting's been done anywhere else. They haven't been up in the highlands at all. (How do you collect butterflies?) That's hard to answer because it really does be? come instinctive after awhile. (Do you wan? der around with a butterfly net?) Yes, you wander around with a butterfly net. You see a butterfly and you try to catch it. There's lots of other techniques that have been worked out but this is the basic business. You know by reading or by experience that certain kinds of butterflies will be found in certain places, at certain tim??s of the year. We'll open this box and I'll demon? strate. Now this butterfly here is found us? ually on old abandoned roads in hardwood forests, because most of these things stay close to where their caterpillars were, and their caterpillars feed on birch and partic? ularly on yellow birch and on willow. That's what's called a White Admiral. Now many of these butterflies have English names, but they have scientific names also. His scien? tific name is Lymenitis arthemis. The White Admiral is a quite common butterfly. And it's interesting because as you go south this thing changes into another species. It loses its white entirely. The blue that's in here comes and takes over most of the white. It's blue in Florida. Then in between • in New England • you get specimens like this and you get specimens that are all blue. And ev? erything in between. The White Admiral comes out in the summertime, in June or July. Now this group, they all come out in the fall • August and September. Because these • three species of Nymphalis and two species of PolVgonia--all of this whole group over? winters as adults. (Their colours are what we think of as fall colours. I guess that's protection?) This is quite true. And if you'd see the underside • you remember when the butterfly is sitting on the ground or resting, the wings are very often folded over the backs so all you see is the under? side • and it looks just like a dead leaf. You find them sitting on a twig or on a bark of a tree and you don't see them at all-- until they move. Then they open their wings and here is this bright orangey red. They come and' sit around on rotten fruit, like rotten apples. Well, these spend the winter as adults. (Where do they stay?) They hide under loose bark, places like that, they're able to stand freezing, obviously. They come out again in early spring and lay their eggs and the caterpillars go through their per? formance during the summer • and the follow- White Admiral, top and underside Mourning Cloak Rnrrlpr Motpl / (902)6673865 ImJKJl vJwl IVIvyl'7l at the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick Border We Feature Full Services • Showers • TV • Phone • Radio • and Reasonable Rates A Family Operated Business, We Serve Everyone Leaving or Entering Nova Scotia by Car EXIT La Planche Street off Trans-Canada • HOSTS: Joe & Billie Smolenaars • 902-667-3865
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