Where Do Pollinators Go in the Winter?
Published on December 10, 2018
As the leaves and temperatures drop, it might be tempting to forget about your pollinator garden until spring. But don’t call it quits just yet! While it may seem like the bees have vanished for the year, they haven’t actually gone anywhere. Although some butterfly species, most notably the monarch, are well-known for migrating vast Read more …
Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California
Published on November 29, 2018
The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. While western monarchs are facing unprecedented challenges right now, there is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly, strategically, and together.
A Shifting Climate Creates Winners and Losers
Published on November 27, 2018
To mitigate the impacts of climate change we need to increase the amount of high-quality and resilient habitat everywhere. Natural areas are the glue that holds all other habitat together, but for insects even small patches in connected networks within agricultural, suburban, urban, and other landscapes can be beneficial. Whether you are a gardener, a farmer, or the manager of a park or nature reserve, you can take action to protect and restore habitat. Xerces has resources to help on our website.
The Striking Beauty of Oklahoma’s Butterflies
Published on November 9, 2018
Oklahoma’s impressive butterfly fauna of more than 170 species includes the nation’s largest (the giant swallowtail) and the smallest (the western pygmy blue), and representatives of all six major butterfly families: Papilionidae (swallowtails), Pieridae (whites and sulphurs), Lycaenidae (gossamerwings), Hesperiidae (skippers), Riodinidae (metalmarks), and Nymphalidae (brush-foots).
Ups and Downs of English Chalk Grasslands
Published on November 1, 2018
This piece originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Xerces’ biannual publication Wings. Click to view the full Spring 2018 issue. “Lack of concentration inhibits standard and rate of work.” Schoolteachers in Britain didn’t mince their words in 1970—or at least mine didn’t! In my defense, they shouldn’t have had a geology map on Read more …
My First Hybrid: Limenitis archippus archippus × Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Published on October 25, 2018
Recently, photographer Bryan E. Reynolds encountered a rare hybrid of two of his favorite butterfly species—a well-deserved sighting for a passionate lepidopterist!
Can Robobees Solve the Pollination Crisis?
Published on September 17, 2018
The problem is more complex than just crops. At least 85 percent of all terrestrial plant species either require or strongly benefit from some form of animal pollination, and the idea of robotic pollinators ignores the many wild plants in meadows, prairies, hedgerows, and forests. Focusing solely on crop pollination and failing to take the pollination of native plants into account may well lead to a deterioration in the plant communities that make up the very fabric of our environment.
Keep Monarchs Wild!
Published on September 11, 2018
Instead of rearing—which is risky and unproven in helping monarchs—we should focus on more effective ways to conserve these glorious wild animals. Our tactics should address the reasons the species is in trouble to begin with. We can do this through taking action to protect natural habitat; to plant native milkweed and flowers; avoid pesticides; support wildlife-friendly, local, and organic agriculture; contribute to research efforts via citizen science; and organize ourselves to push for policy changes.
The Endangered Species Act needs your help!
Published on August 29, 2018
We need your voice to help defend one of our most important wildlife protection laws. Since 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been at the forefront of species protection, placing the United States as a world leader in science-based conservation. The ESA is our nation’s most effective law for protecting animals and plants in Read more …
Fun with Harvesters
Published on November 1, 2017
This story was contributed by Bryan Reynolds, photographer and Xerces supporter In September, I visited the town of Norman, close to where I live in Oklahoma, to give a photography workshop to a group of botanists from the University of Oklahoma. The workshop was held in Saxon Park, a small park that has running/walking trails through Read more …
Plants for Pollinators: Violets
Published on April 7, 2017
This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Common Blue Violet Viola sororia Violets are often bemoaned as “weeds” when found in lawns, and otherwise impugned for Read more …
Island Marble Butterfly: Slipping Towards Extinction
Published on April 5, 2016
On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus) is in danger of extinction but that protection under the Endangered Species Act is “precluded by higher priority listing actions.” The Service declined to grant this butterfly protection through an emergency listing process, Read more …
DeWind Awards: Investing in the future of Lepidoptera conservation
Published on March 28, 2016
The Xerces Society began as a butterfly conservation organization—hence our name—and these beautiful animals remain at the heart of who we are. We work with farmers and park managers, gardeners and agency biologists to protect butterflies and other invertebrates and ensure they have a place to live. This work has always been rooted in science, drawing Read more …
Surprises in the Field: Discovering a New Population of a Bog-Associated Butterfly
Published on December 22, 2015
One of the greatest thrills of fieldwork is finding an unexpected or undescribed species at a field site. As a conservation biologist who studies invertebrates, I probably get more than my fair share of new encounters. The numbers are certainly in my favor: invertebrates make up over 90 percent of all known animal species on Read more …
The Crystal Skipper: North Carolina’s Newest Butterfly Species
Published on December 3, 2015
The beautiful beaches of the central North Carolina coast, known as the Crystal Coast in tourist brochures, are well known to beachgoers, birdwatchers, and shell hunters. Less well known is a small brown butterfly living amongst the sand dunes which, until last week, had no official name; it has now been formally described in the Read more …
All Aboard the Monarch Express
Published on November 13, 2015
Of all the butterflies in North America, the monarch can probably claim the largest fan club. Over recent decades, love for the monarch spawned a network of loyal enthusiasts growing milkweed and creating backyard oases across the country. Despite this, years of declining populations in both the eastern and western U.S. led to a petition Read more …
Help Protect Our Beloved Butterflies
Published on May 29, 2015
Monarch butterflies are among North America’s most loved species. Growing up in Nebraska, I remember seeing thousands of these butterflies visiting fields of wildflowers; I know that many of you grew up with similar experiences. Unfortunately, our children and grandchildren may not have the same opportunity to witness the beauty of monarchs flying across native Read more …
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