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Latest Butterfly Stories

2008-07-22 18:00:50

The milkweed adheres to the adage Know your enemy by using fast repair work when its defenses are damaged by hungry caterpillars, U.S. researchers said. Cornell University researchers examined the way milkweed evolved to the monarch butterfly caterpillar's changing attempts to disarm the plant, the Ithaca, N.Y., university said in a news release. They found the plant may be evolving away from its defenses against certain caterpillars toward repairing themselves faster than caterpillars...

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2008-07-22 15:50:00

The adage that your enemies know your weaknesses best is especially true in the case of plants and predators that have co-evolved: As the predators evolve new strategies for attack, plants counter with their own unique defenses. Milkweed is the latest example of this response, according to Cornell research suggesting that plant may be shifting away from elaborate defenses against specialized caterpillars toward a more energy-efficient approach. Genetic analysis reveals an evolutionary trend...

2008-06-24 02:29:44

By LIZ PHILLIPS Learning all about bees and butterflies took a step closer for Eden Park Primary School pupils at Brixham after a special wildlife garden was created by volunteers. Devon Wildlife Trust supporters and volunteers from EDF Energy teamed up to create a new hands-on study area for the youngsters. Volunteer Becky Clark said: "We repainted four benches, built a new pond, created an area for bumble bees to colonise, dug out a stony patch of ground and planted about 40 species...

2008-06-17 03:00:15

By Milius, Susan Iridescence could be pretty meaningful-or maybe just pretty Believe it or not, science has barely begun to fathom the peacock's tail. Subtle as a pink tuxedo, one mightthink. Bigflashything. Peahens love it. What's not to understand. Roslyn Dakin, though, has plenty of questions. There's the matter of choreography. Already this year she has left Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, to visit peacocks (the birds) in Los Angeles and New York. She has spent weeks...

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2008-05-14 09:05:00

It's a paradox that has confounded evolutionary biologists since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859: Since parasites depend on their hosts for survival, why do they harm them?A new University of Georgia and Emory University study of monarch butterflies and the microscopic parasites that hitch a ride on them finds that the parasites strike a middle ground between the benefits gained by reproducing rapidly and the costs to their hosts. The study, published in the early...

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2008-05-10 00:05:00

British researchers have discovered a bird species, called great tits, that has adapted to climate change by breeding earlier in the year. By doing this, the tits are able to keep apace with the earlier emergence of the caterpillars on which the birds feed.  Interestingly, while the researchers observed this behavior in the British birds, the same birds in the Netherlands did not adjust to the shift in climate. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) told BBC News that...

2008-02-21 13:41:25

Circular markings on creatures such as butterflies are effective against predators because they are conspicuous features, not because they mimic the eyes of the predators' own enemies, according to research published today in the journal, Behavioral Ecology[1]. Zoologists based at the University of Cambridge challenge the 150-year-old theory about why these markings are effective against predators. Many animals possess protective markings to avoid predation, including patterns to reduce the...

2008-02-14 00:30:00

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History will open a new butterfly pavilion this Friday.  The exhibit, called "Butterflies and Plants:  Partners in Evolution", will be a permanent part of the museum and will provide visitors the opportunity to interact with the colorful monarchs up close and learn about their close relationship with plants over millions of years.  The pavilion will be located next to the insect zoo, and will contain tropical gardens, brightly...

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2008-01-09 19:30:00

Genetic information about the biological clock of monarch butterflies might reveal information about our circadian rhythms. A study was published online in the Public Library of Science and their Biology Journal which found that the biological clocks of butterflies help them use the sun as a compass. Dr. Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist from the University of Massachusetts led the study's seven-member research team. His reasoning? "A butterfly's brain is no bigger than the head of a pin, and...

2007-10-30 00:00:00

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Researchers who helped discover a new species of Mexican butterfly are offering to sell the naming rights to raise money to fund more research. Co-discoverer Andrew Warren is hoping to raise at least $50,000 by auctioning off the rights to name the 4-inch "owl eye" butterfly, which lives in Sonora, a Mexican state bordering Arizona. "That would support at least two years of research for our team down in Mexico," Warren said. "Money goes a long way down here in Mexico."...


Latest Butterfly Reference Libraries

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2009-04-28 15:52:13

Buddaleja utahensis is more commonly known as the Utah Butterfly Bush or the Panamint Butterfly Bushand is indigenous to the southwestern United States. Growing nearly 20 inches tall, this bristly shrub features expasive branching network with a wide circumference. Its leaves give off a silvery green color resulting from the fine hairs that cover the plant. Each leaf has a bumpy texture with sides that curl under and measures approximately 1inch. Bundles of tubular soft green flowers...

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2007-12-27 10:26:59

The Rothschild's Birdwing (Ornithoptera rothschildi), is a large butterfly from the birdwing genus endemic to the Arfak Mountains, Western New Guinea. The Rothschild's Birdwing has the most restricted distribution of all birdwings. Its preferred habitat is flowering meadows in an altitude from 6500 to 8800 feet. The females can reach a wingspan up to 6 inches. The forewings are dark brown to blackish brown with creamy white to grayish spots. The hindwings rimmed with black scales and have...

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2007-12-27 09:55:38

The Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion), is Australia's largest native butterfly species. Cairns Birdwings are found southwards from Mount Webb and Cooktown to Mackay in Queensland. Favored habitat is primary rainforest, although the species will breed readily in a home garden if the correct larval host plants are grown. Males have a predominately black upper wing with emerald green flashes, however the female lacks the green coloring, having a plain black upper wing with white...

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2007-12-27 09:52:26

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae), is the largest butterfly in the world. The species was named by Lord Walter Rothschild in 1907, in honor of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The first European to discover the species was Albert Stewart Meek in 1906, a collector employed by Lord Walter Rothschild to collect natural history specimens from Papua New Guinea. Although the first specimen was taken with the aid of a small shotgun, Meek soon...

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2005-09-12 10:40:35

The Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) is a common swallowtail butterfly found in western North America. Both the upper and lower sides of its wings are black, but the upper wing has a broad yellow stripe across it, which gives the butterfly an overall yellow appearance. Striking blue spots adorn the rear edge of the rear wing, and the characteristic tails of the swallowtails. Its wingspan is 7-9 cm and its body is somewhat shorter than the rather similar Western Tiger Swallowtail, with...

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Word of the Day
mundungus
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.