Vanessa at night

mbpi at mbpi at
Mon Jan 21 09:49:50 EST 2002

It would be interesting to determine the incidence of butterflies in the
stomach contents or crops of night flying insect eaters, such as bats,
flying squirrels and nighthawks.  Of course this wouldn't prove anything
inconclusively, but if the migratory leps species were found to be
present in significant numbers, it might indicate that these species do,
indeed, move at night.

How one were to "sample" the stomach contents is anyone's guess, since
most butterfly gourmands eschew the wings, preferring the "meatier"
portions of the butterfly.  I suppose it would have to be a chemical
analysis indicative of the plant species consumed by the butterflies in
their larval stage...

I don't know for a fact, but the aforementioned insect eaters generally
catch their prey "on the wing."  Whether or not they are opportunistic
enough to eat "roosting" insects would certainly be another wrench in the
conslusivity of the data collecting.

Another great "research project" for some astute graduate student who
could probably dream up better parameters to test this hypothesis than

M.B. Prondzinski

On Mon, 21 Jan 2002 08:19:12 -0500 Anne Kilmer <viceroy at GATE.NET> writes:
> Paul Cherubini wrote:
> > Niklas Wahlberg wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >>Yep, on warm starry nights with a full moon. How many moths have 
> you
> >>identified to species, genus, family, without an artificial light 
> after the
> >>sun has gone down? How many moths have you seen actually flying 
> without any
> >>source of artificial light? 
> >>
> > 
> > I have about 200 butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) in my rural 
> backyard
> > in northern California. On warm, full moon nights in summer I have 
> no 
> > trouble seeing moths nectaring on these flowers without using a 
> flashlight. 
> > True, I have to catch the moths to ID them.
> > 
> > Likewise out in the remote Nevada desert, far from human 
> civilization, 
> > I find it easy to see moths nectaring on Rabbitbrush flowers on 
> warm moonlit 
> > nights.  I've never seen any butterflies nectaring or flying at 
> night (away from
> > artificial light sources) 30 minutes or more after sunset.  
> > 
> > Paul
> > 
> So you reckon that, wafted by a hurricane, Monarchs, for instance, 
> quit 
> flying when the lights go out? I bet not. Would you? Windsurfing; 
> Wow!
> They do show up in the British Isles, and have been recorded, often, 
> after hurricanes. (Neil can substantiate this, as can Trevor.)
> It is not possible to prove a negative.
> How many people are out looking for butterflies at night, would 
> recognize a Vanessa even in bright light, high up among tree tops, 
> would 
> care, and would think it worthy of mentioning?
> What are the odds that the few of you would happen to be looking 
> when a 
> Vanessa passed by? ;-)
> As for nectaring, the butterflies and their flowers have a deal; 
> neither 
> of them works when the sun ain't shining. No sun, no nectar.
> The folks who want moths offer nectar (and perfume) in the evening, 
> when 
> the moths are out. Amazing, the works of Mother Nature.
> If a scientist cares to put this into science-speak, by all means go 
> for 
> it.
> I have watched the workers at Butterfly World shaking the bushes, on 
> cloudy days, to keep the butterflies flying. The butterflies know 
> better.
> This is common knowledge, for Heaven's sake.
> Anne Kilmer,
> Kaos Consulting Services
> South Florida
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