New Callippe Siver Spot colony

Neil Jones Neil at
Mon Jan 11 15:13:41 EST 1999

In article <45F8A30CE009D2118F850000F805064D8FE1AA at>
           MWalker at "Mark Walker" writes:

> I assume that we are talking about some ssp. of Speyeria callippe (S. c.
> callippe)?  Since the foodplant is easy enough to grow, why isn't someone
> attempting to rear this Fritillary?  Since adults oviposit when the violets
> have died back, they depend on habitats which are undisturbed over many
> seasons (that is, where the foodplant is sustained).  Golf courses don't
> seem to fit into that sort of category.  Empty lots adjacent to golf courses
> don't fit into that category, either.
> If anyone has any spare acreage in the Bay area, why not plant some Viola
> and create a bastion?
> What's up?  We're not talking about an endangered larval foodplant or
> foodplant habitat here (are we?).  Anyone got the scoop?

I know little about this species so what I have to say is of only general
use. Mark's idea is a good one and habitat creation is a worthwhile aim.
However there are several problems. It is complicated. It is difficult to
know the precise needs of any species. 
It would be better to expand existing habitat rather than create new
habitat to which the species would have to be introduced.
The available research shows that butterfly introductions are very
very seldom successful over the long term.

The other problem you have is partly a political one.
Developers often will spend a lot of money employing consultants.
Increasingly I find myself hearing it pronounced CON-sultants with an
emphasis on the CON. (for those less familiar with English "to con"=
to trick, dupe, swindle. French speakers may find a different conotation! :-) )

 There are some good people doing this work and
there are also some very bad. 
Developers increasingly like to come up with engineering 
solutions to conservation problems. Assuring people that it is alright
we can move the species or create habitat elsehwere.
If only it were so easy. These schemes are rarely if ever very

I was recently involved in a Public Inquiry over damage to a butterfly
site where the government had appointed an Inspector to judge the merits
of the various cases. I was trying to explain the concept of a "metapopulation"
- a series of linked colonies each of which may periodically die out to be
recolonised by a neighbour.
Explaining that as a result of this even empty patches of habitat should
be conserved.
I used just ONE single mathematical equation. The simplest one drerived by 
Levins in 1969. The Inspector had a TYPED copy of my evidence in front of him.
He turned to me and said

"Is that an equals sign or a proportional to sign?"

The point I am making is that we have to be very careful how we market
conservation because the poor scientific literacy of the decision makers 
makes them vulnerable to the tactics of those who intend to mislead them.

In this particular case the consultants had got the flight period of the
butterfly wrong, had looked for larvae at the wrong time of year and
got the details of the insect's legal protection wrong!

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve

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