b-fly releases at events

Mark Berman bugman at bugs.org
Thu Sep 23 10:23:40 EDT 1999

Hi again,

Paul C. makes a good point that this is a numbers game. But it seems to me
that chance observations are not the important consequence.... I admit that
I've never had the patience or discipline to be an avid monitor - I envy
some of you for that! But I still don't think field counts are the main

I am not 100% convinced that school releases alone could affect noticable
changes in population densities. But add to that a couple hundred
individuals randomly released in June and July (wedding season), and I could
envision ecological effects

Assuming these are potentially interbreeding individuals and there's is a
recurring - even small - introduction (i.e. school releases), then this
might effect the gene pool and alter the "wild-type." And there seems to be
a serious likelihood of this if, all of a sudden, there are an extra 200 lab
reared individuals from a festive "mass release."  I surely don't mean to
sound alarmist about the whole thing... it hardly rises to that level. But I
do think that's the real issue here, and not unexpected data in July counts.

Ecology (technically meaning "the study of home --- "ecos"="home") is the
study of where things live and why they live there. We have learned very
important principles of nature - and even agricultural practices - over the
years studying ecological topics. They would not be as valuable if we only
learned certain animals lived where they did because "so-n-so" got married
here a few years back!

BUGMAN Educational Entoprises

Paul Cherubini <paulcher at CONCENTRIC.NET> wrote in message
news:37E9BECB.7FAD at concentric.net...
> Mark Berman wrote:
> > Some schools only release a
> > few [Painted Ladies], but I have been in schools that released >20 in
one season.
> Ok, now were getting some numbers with which to build up a risk model.
> How many elementary schools are there in Fairbanks, Alaska? Or all of
> Alaska? How many Painted Ladies are we talking about if each of these
> schools released 20 Painted Ladies each season?
> Say there are 20 elementary schools in Fairbanks and each releases 20
> Painted Ladies over a 3 month period. That's a total of 400 Painted
> Ladies released over 3 months in the greater Fairbanks area (an area
> involving several square miles) or an average of about 4 butterflies a
> day.
> What is the realistic probability that one of the few Lepidopterists in
> Fairbanks area is ever going to spot one of these short lived
> butterflies and cause a false sighting to be entered into the
> biogeograhical sight record database? A good chance of one false
> sighting every year? Every 10 years? Every 1000-plus years?  Can someone
> work through the dispersal math and statistical probabilities involved
> here?
> > There are plenty of examples of introductions of non-native species
> > resulting in major ecological challenges. I'm sure many of you are quite
> > familiar with most. The impact of these events extends far beyond the
> > relative value of monitoring programs, sometimes resulting in public
> > hazards or serious challenges to populations of valuable native
> The United States Department of Agriculture grants permits for the
> commercial release of only  NINE, wide ranging, abundant, NATIVE species
> (e.g. Monarchs, Painted Ladies, Mourning Cloaks, etc).
> Paul Cherubini, Placerville, California

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