I need help.......

Paul Cherubini cherubini at mindspring.com
Fri May 5 06:25:56 EDT 2000

Ken Philip wrote:

> One can never be sure about a given specimen--but there is enough
> evidence that SW US butterflies can disperse this far north. Both _V.
> cardui_ and _V. atalanta_ have been found in the Yukon (Carmacks and
> Haines Junction, respectively), and _V. atalanta_ has been found in SE
> and Southcentral Alaska. There is also one record of _H. isola_ from
> Wiseman, Alaska. All these species are noted for northward dispersal
> flights...

I agree it looks like both the Red Admiral and Painted Lady stray
as far north as interior Alaska on occassion. The Monarch has strayed
as far north as the Yukon and Hudson's Bay too - far out of range of
it's milkweed host plant.

Now I am wondering what are the northernmost breeding records for 
the Red Admiral and Painted Lady? It would seem a more serious
issue if school releases caused false positive breeding records. I have not
heard of any to date.

> The Kenai Peninsula _cardui_ were caught in 1973, which may
> have been before the schools up here began releasing them--but I'm
> not sure about that.

Insect Lore - the company that supplies schools with Painted Ladies
began business in 1969. But I don't know how many years it took
the owner-entomologist Carlos White to get his business established 
in remote areas like Alaska. The spring of 1973 was an outbreak year
for Painted Ladies here in California in April. At this time the butterflies are
in moderate to heavily faded condition. These older butterflies could have 
reachedthe Anchorage area of Alaska by June if they could cover an average of
about 30 miles per day (as monarchs do) through the intense cold, rain
and overcast of the west coast of Canada and Alaska, but I wonder how
realistic this is? And I wonder if the moderately worn Painted Ladies 
migrating north in California in April are capable of living to June?  

Paul Cherubini

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