Strays vs stays

Alan Wormington wormington at
Sun Nov 5 18:17:44 EST 2000


Just another follow-up to my original message.  The first Marine Blue I
found at Point Pelee was on June 16th (I don't have the year in front of
me).  It was very worn.  Therefore, based on the relatively early date
(for Ontario), it either DID come from the U.S. southwest, or from a
brood in transit.  Either way, it flew a great distance.

Being worn, one can assume that it was probably fresh on or around early
June; therefore, it must have been produced from eggs laid somewhere in
late April (based on a presumed 40-day cycle or so).  Therefore --
somewhere -- a Marine Blue laid eggs in late April.  Regardless of where
that was, it was a long way from Ontario (or in the unlikely situation
that it was relatively close to Ontario, then the individual that laid
the eggs had travelled an immense distance).

The Great Southern White at Point Pelee:  This was on also on June 16th,
different year, same date by co-incidence only.  Again, eggs must have
been laid somewhere in late April to mid-May; wherever it was, it was a
long way from Ontario.

Another example:  there is a record of Red-banded Hairstreak from
south-central Saskatchewan, many hundreds of miles (perhaps 1000+ miles?)
from the next known record.  Migratory or not, this demonstrates that a
hairstreak has the ability to cover some ground.  And I don't think
Red-banded Hairstreak is considered highly migratory.

Why can't *ontario* (Northern Hairstreak) move a fair distance (even a
short distance) in years of abundance?  It is well known that Hickory
Hairstreak irrupts on occasion and it is during these years that it is
often found in new locations.

Everyone might note that I am currently 35 miles E of North Padre Island,
Texas.  I am on an oil platform conducting bird and insect migration
studies for LSU (Baton Rouge).  This has been an on-going project for 2
1/2 years now and at times we have had people on (10) different platforms
at the same time, scattered from south Texas to eastern Louisiana in the
Gulf of Mexico.  Our scientifically-based research (not by birders) has
demonstrated that insects have the ability to travel immense distances --
but it would be impossible to start detailing our findings here.

Alan Wormington (one "l", not two)
Leamington, Ontario


On Sun, 5 Nov 2000 17:00:54 -0500 "Ron Gatrelle" <gatrelle at>
> Allan Wormington wrote:
> Great information, but please explain the records of the following
> species at Point Pelee during recent years:
> Long-tailed Skipper, Funereal Dusky-Wing (2 records / 2 different 
> years),
> Brazilian Skipper, Ocola Skipper (now recorded 5 different years, 
> only one
> record elsewhere in Canada), Great Southern White, Sleepy Orange (2 
> records
> / 2 different years), Marine Blue.
> If [a] Marine Blue can make it here from the U.S. southwest, I'm 
> sure a
> couple of *Fixsenia favonius ontario* can stray to southern Ontario 
> from
> somewhere in the northern United States.
> Alan Wormington
> Leamington, Ontario
> [currently 35 miles E of North Padre Island, Texas]
> Ron Gatrelle's response.
>     Since this question was asked of me, I will address it from my
> perspective. The first thing I would want to know is if these are 
> based on
> sightings or actual collected specimens. If based on sightings then 
> these
> records are nonexistent. (At this discussion group we recently 
> examined the
> 100% positive sight record for S. idalia in Ontario. A record which 
> John
> Shuey (and I) said was virtually impossible.) Sight records 
> (confirmed by a
> buddy) have long been accepted as standard procedure among Birders.
> Lepidopterists have almost always based official records only on 
> collected
> specimens.
>     It is scientifically alarming that sight records are actually 
> preferred
> to capture records by the new groups. I will assume here that these 
> are
> based on actual voucher specimens and are valid. I am glad to see 
> that Allan
> collects specimens as evidenced by his Point Pelee specimens figured 
> in
> B-flies of Canada.
>     Secondly, I'm not completely sure what some of the above species 
> are.
> Why? Because for over 40 years I have used, and continue to use, 
> scientific
> names -- which are the only names that count. Any current 
> instability in
> lepidopteran names has not come from traditional lepidopterists -- 
> butterfly
> collectors. It has come from those who have wrought havoc by not 
> only
> throwing out science (taxonomic names) but by also reinventing all 
> the
> common (USA) names. I see this as one of many deliberate moves over 
> the last
> 15 years to widen the gap between historical butterfly collectors 
> and the
> new butterfly watchers.
>     So let me translate this list. Urbanus proteus, Erynnis 
> funeralis,
> Calpodes ethlius, Panoquina ocala, Ascia monuste, Eurema nicippe, 
> Leptotes
> marina.
>     Next. When Allan asked me to "...please explain the records of 
> the
> following." I don't think he did so as a sincere question birthed 
> out of
> some honest perplexity. Rather, I think he was being somewhat 
> sarcastic.
> Kind of like saying, "OK, Mr. know-it-all so how did these all get 
> here. Did
> they just come from a couple miles away too _Not_! " (My apologies 
> to Allan
> in advance as he may not have had this kind of attitude at all.)
>     The answer (not my answer) is this. All of these species are 
> multiple
> brooded wanderers. No Leptotes marina has ever made "it here 
> (Canada) from
> the U.S. southwest." This is an absurd statement. It is birder 
> speak.
> Remember, that I grew up in Iowa. I experienced this every year. As 
> the
> season progressed more and more "southern" species would be found in 
> _fresh_
> condition as these species extended their breeding range.
>     Thus, the vast majority of specimens on Allan's list did come 
> from a
> breeding colony relatively *few* miles away. The ocala did not come 
> from
> Ocala, Fla, nor did the ethilus come from Brazil. Are they non 
> resident
> Canadian strays? Absolutely. But they were bred just across the 
> border or in
> Canada. Have the decorative Canna plants in urban Ontraio been 
> searched for
> ethilus larvae? I seldom see ethilus adults even here, but I find 
> their
> larvae by the dozens in stands of Canna all over town every year.
>     Allan is comparing apples and acorns. All the species he 
> mentioned are
> multiple brooded wanders. F. favonius ontario is a single brooded 
> stay at
> home species. Next spring find the proper ontario habitat within 10 
> miles of
> Pointe Pelee. When the larvae would be in late instars, place white 
> sheets
> on the ground beneath young (less than 20 feet talk) oaks, smack or 
> shake
> the trees and don't be surprised if you find ontario larvae.
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