environmental enhancement again

Anne Kilmer viceroy at gate.net
Sat Jan 19 14:49:45 EST 2002

Neil Jones wrote:

> On 16 Jan, in article <002501c19eb1$192d8c60$2cc8b8a1 at net>
>      isheldon at telusplanet.net "Ian Sheldon" wrote:
>>One of the European examples Norbert may be making reference to is the
>>British Large Blue (Maculinea arion).

much good stuff snipped

> The ecology of this species had been worked out by the time it became extinct.
> The population was just too small. The last generation were 22 adults the 
> decendant of a single female of only 5 adults to emerge in the previous year.
> It was first put back from Swedish stock onto the last site which is known
> as "Site X". It is still surviving there and has been moved onto
> several other sites. However, even with all the expertise that has been
> developed some of the introductions have failed. In general butterfly 
> introductions are very very difficult to get to work.

but oh, so worth while ... if changes are planned to benefit the other 
butterflies still on site, as well.

As far as the Miami Blue and the other local blues, which would
share the good times a'coming, I bet if folks would quit
 spraying mosquito adulticides where they're growing, they would feel ever so much better. 

Just issue bee suits to the tourists; they'll be fine. Us natives don't 
notice the mosquitoes anyway, unless they're so thick you can't drive 
through them.
Or if, when you drop your pants, your legs turn black. One time, in the 
Everglades ... well, never mind.

Even if the world's best efforts do not actually retrieve the Miami Blue 
from its race to oblivion, there are other butterflies on the Keys that 
might yet survive, given a chance.
And, of course, in the rest of Florida ... and lands adjacent.


The Federal Register citation actually describes a possible recovery 
plan, and asks people to report on actions already being taken; it 
suggests the use of Balloon Vine to fill in the gaps between isolated 
pockets of the correct native plants for this cute little bug.

Balloon vine was common here in 1932, when Charles Torrey Simpson wrote 
his lovely book, Florida Wild Life. He lists it among "plants common to 
New Caledonia and Florida" among quite a few plants that successfully 
pass themselves off as natives.

As for the lovely native plant, nicker bean, here's an account of it in 
his own words:
As I slowly work my way through the forest I find myself suddenly caught 
and lacerated by a lot of terrible thorns. The more I try to get free 
the tighter I am held and finally I manage to get out my pocket?knife 
and literally cut the pestiferous vine that has caught me into small 
pieces, each of which I drag loose. This is Guilandina crista, the gray 
nicker bean, and it is not at all uncommon in our hammocks. Every part 
of it, except the leaves, is simply covered to saturation with stout, 
curved spines which are ever ready to catch hold but never to let go. At 
the base of each pair of leaflets is a couple of thorns, each of which 
works for the benefit of the other; the petioles are armed with them 
about as close as they can stand and do efficient work; the stems have a 
bountiful supply, and finally the great brown seed pods are given all 
the spines that couldn't be placed anywhere else. There is another 
species sometimes found in our forests, G. bonduc, which is very much 
like the one I have just had the adventure with but may be told from it 
by the fact that while the former has foliaceous stipules and gray 
seeds, the latter has yellow seeds and no stipules. They may thus be 
identified if one cares to botanize when one is mixed up with them. I am 
absolutely unable to tell which is the greater nuisance; the case is 
like that of the [man] in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," who was asked which was 
the best route, the dirt road or the turnpike, and he replied, 
"Whichever yo' takes you'll wish yo' tuk de odder 'fore yo' git t'rough."

Hey, let's plant that stuff in our yards. Whee.
Anne Kilmer
South Florida


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