Fw: Re: [SoWestLep] 2005 prospects for S. Calif. and NW Arizona.

Patrick Foley patfoley at csus.edu
Sat Jan 22 13:06:17 EST 2005

Dear lepsters,

While I think there are substantial problems in actually implementing a 
research program to evaluate the success of butterfly adaptation to SW 
climate, let me suggest a few hal-baked ideas.

We need two (or perhaps three) quantities that are difficult to measure:
1) How long has a Bfly species been committed to a SW desert lifestyle?
In principle this might require serious population genetic 
(phylogeographic) data for species and subspecies in SW.
Any ideas about sloppy ways to get such a measure? Can a natural history 
approach based on morphological desert adaptations help? What would 
these be? Color? Hairiness?
2) How well adapted is a Bfly species to the rain regime?
I think that one of the best measures of this would be a ratio of the 
rainy year Bfly population size to its rainy year carrying capacity K. 
Now it may be tricky to get a precise measure of the carrying capacity 
for a given year, but it should be proportional to the numbers of the 
host plants.
Walkers and other high intensity collectors, do you have any rough 
quantitative measures of population size?
Other ideas?
3) One other thing to measure is how much genetic migration occurs from 
outside the desert to inside it in the Bfly species.

The Walkers wrote:

> Patrick Foley asked: 
> >Anybody want to rank order SW desert butterfly species as to how ancient
> they are in the SW? Perhaps we could then make some predictions about
> which species will come back faster with the rainfall.
> While I won't bother to guess which desert butterflies have been here 
> longest, I will comment that my experience with desert 
> butterflies suggests that they seem to be very well adapted to the 
> crazy climatic conditions that exist there.  Likewise, I'm finding 
> that the butterflies whose larval hostplants thrive in the fire zones 
> of southern California seem to be uniquely capable of dealing with the 
> inevitable periodic fire storms that occur here.  It only makes sense, 
> I guess, that butterflies that thrive in dry desert washes are 
> equipped to deal both with long periods of drought and occasional 
> flash flooding.  I agree with Ken Davenport that even after many years 
> of apparent absence, certain species can make miraculous and 
> instantaneous comebacks in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of California.
> Just a few that I expect will explode in the desert this year:
> Vanessa cardui
> Papilio polyxenes coloro
> Papilio indra fordi
> Pontia sisymbrii
> Euchloe lotta
> Chlosyne neumoegeni
> Chlosyne californica (after many lean years, this has been 
> superabundant for at least five years)Celastrina ladon echo
> Anthocharis sara
> Anthocharis cethura
> Callophrys affinis
> Callophrys loki
> Anthocharis lanceolata (it's been a few years since the last desert 
> explosion)
> Euphilotes chalcedona hennei (it's due for a good flight)
> Euphilotes chalcedona corralensis (also due for a good flight)
> Apodemia virgulti
> I hope Thessalia leanira cerrita has another explosion in the Colorado 
> Desert (the last was two years ago), and of course it's always nice to 
> see an abundance of Philotes sonorensis (I've never personally 
> witnessed this in the desert, but last year was reportedly good in 
> Anza Borrego).  Pontia beckerii can have strong post-rain flights, but 
> not every year.  The one butterfly that I've been waiting over 10 
> years for an explosion of in San Diego County is Philotiella 
> speciosa.  Could this be the year?
> Mark Walker
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.yale.edu/mailman/private/leps-l/attachments/20050122/2a114e2a/attachment.html 

More information about the Leps-l mailing list