Vanessa Butterfly Migration Project; Request for Red Admiral, Painted Lady Sightings

Royce J Bitzer mariposa at
Fri Mar 29 20:02:41 EST 2002

Leps-L Members,

This message is to announce the start of the 2002 _Vanessa_ Butterfly 
Migration Project.  In a way similar to Journey North's Monarch tracking, 
we will be mapping migration and seasonal distribution of four _Vanessa_ 
butterflies in North America:

Red Admiral (_Vanessa atalanta_)
Painted Lady (_Vanessa cardui_)
American Lady (_Vanessa virginiensis_)
West Coast Lady (_Vanessa annabella_)
1.      We are looking for observers to tell us the first date that they 
see (or have seen) any of these butterflies in their area, and the numbers 
seen that day.  If the butterfly was a permanent winter resident in your 
area this year, please tell us likewise.

2.      If there are noticeable directional migrations of these species 
this year, we would appreciate your reports of these migrations.

3.      Reports of presence or abundance of these butterflies later in the 
season are also welcome.  We encourage multiple observations from the same 

Please include your full name, e-mail address, the location from which you 
observed, and the date or dates when you see these butterflies.  For 
evident directional migrations, please include also the direction toward 
which they seem to be moving.  A rough estimate of how frequently they are 
passing through (for example, 10 butterflies over 20 minutes) would also be 
helpful, as would notes on temperature, wind speed and direction, and type 
and extent of cloud cover.

For more information about this project and how to report your 
observations, see the Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site

Select the links "Help track the 2002 North American Migrations" and "How 
to Report Your Observations."  We are taking observations through e-mail 
(mariposa at at the moment, but hope to have a reporting form and 
database available soon to make reporting easier.

We have also included maps of the progress of the large spring 2001 Red 
Admiral and Painted Lady migrations at

Last spring, as many of you may recall, I requested springtime Red Admiral 
migration sightings from observers on Leps-L.  These included both 
sightings of the first Red Admiral of the season and of migrating Red 
Admirals, mostly in the eastern and midwestern U.S.  At the same time, a 
Painted Lady migration was underway in the western states, and many people 
likewise posted their observations.  Many of the sightings included on 
these maps are from data you sent to me or to Leps-L last year.  Now I can 
show you on these maps what the patterns of last year's migrations were 
like.  Thanks again to everyone for their observations.

If anyone else has observations from last year that they would like to 
share, please feel free to send these to us also.  We will add them to the 
existing maps.

Thank you for your time and interest,

Royce Bitzer
mariposa at

Department of Entomology
113A Insectary
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa  50011-3140


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