Red Admirals on track

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Tue May 15 23:55:40 EDT 2001

Ferocious fanciers of the furry fliers,

As we know from past debate, there are legitimate concerns about releasing
butterflies, concerns that are hard to objectively evaluate. Scientists and
others are right to worry about disease transmission being increased by
unconsidered releases. Whether or not this concern overcomes our natural
reluctance to let people do whatever they damn well please is certainly
debateable, but I am not interested in that debate here.

I am simply arguing that those who are troubled by releases are not a vast
bureaucratic conspiracy, hysterical with paranoia. In fact, they have
history on their side in their worries about invasions, diseases and such.
The history of stupid introductions, ravaging introduced diseases and
completely unforseen consequences is pretty spectacular in the biological

Incidentally in my area (Yolo and Sacramento Counties, California), I am not
seeing any Red Admirals at present. The Painted Ladies have settled down to
oviposition around here, especially on Malva parviflora and a few backyard
composites. They no longer seem so compelled to speed North and West.

Patrick Foley
patfoley at

Paul Cherubini wrote:

> Pat Foley wrote:
> > They make such incorrect statements accidentally, I suspect.
> > Paul Cherubini leaves out the other species in that sentence, and I
> > think that the Red Admiral got smuggled in accidentally. So send
> > them a direct message, Paul, to fix their mistake.
> One thing we know for sure is that NABA continues to promote
> the notion that interstate shipments and releases of
> Red Admirals, Painted Ladies and American Ladies are a scientifically
> legitimate threat to wild populations of these butterflies.
> What follows are some snips I took from the "Butterfly
> Releases: Action You Can Take" update that NABA apparently recently
> posted on its website
> "The USDA is now reconsidering its regulations regarding the
> interstate shipment of live butterflies.The regulations being considered
> would allow interstate shipments of American Ladies, Painted
> Ladies and Red Admirals without any permit.What Can You Do?
> Because the USDA listens to public opinion, it is important that you
> contact the USDA and express your views regarding this
> threat to wild butterfly populations.
> Write to: Wayne F. Wehling, USDA-Aphis, PPQ PRA, Unit
> 133, 4700 River Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737; or send an email
> message to him at Wayne.F.Wehling at"
> "Scientists, trying to track, for example, northward movement in the
> spring of Painted Ladies, now are confused by Painted Ladies
> being released into the environment."
> "The fact that Red Admirals can be found in Florida and in
> California does not preclude the likelihood that some
> diseases or parasites of Red Admirals and other butterflies
> are currently limited in their range to, for example, Florida, or
> to California."
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