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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Butterfly of USA


Butterfly - United States of America

The largest butterfly that can be found naturally in the United States is the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) with a wing span of 4-6 inches, and is known as the "Orange Dog" by local citrus growers. Giant, Thoas, and female Tiger Swallowtails are the largest of the North American butterflies.

MONARCH - The Monarch is probably the most widely recognized of all North American butterflies. The monarch is unique among North American butterflies in performing an annual two-way migration in vast numbers from one area of the continent to another. Probably no other insect among the millions of species on earth performs a similar migration. Individual research fellows and scientists still have much more to learn about how individual monarchs are able to return each year to over wintering sites and breeding grounds they have never seen.

Based on estimates of the number of butterflies over wintering in California, the eastern monarch population currently numbers in the tens of millions [ may vary ], while the smaller western population numbers in the millions. Data will indicate that the size of both populations fluctuates regularly. due to winter storm mortality, poor breeding conditions, predation, parasites, disease, and other pressures in combination with each other. In the past, both populations have suffered losses approaching 90 percent but have recovered because the surviving 10 percent experienced excellent conditions in the breeding range.

While a fluctuating population size appears to be the norm for monarchs, the eastern population is now suffering consistently higher levels of mortality. This may be reducing the population size to a level from which it cannot recover itself. The main reason for the decline in monarch populations has been the periodic natural disasters at the Mexican over-wintering sites. Some sites may sustain losses of anywhere from 30 to 90 percent during winter storms. Human alteration of the habitat, particularly the opening of forests by logging, has reduced the protective effect of the forest canopy. This has increased the negative effects of winter storms and has made the over wintering monarchs more susceptible to predation from birds and mammals.

In the past, these disasters have been counterbalanced by the increase in breeding habitat in eastern North America. However, widespread and increasing use of herbicides throughout North America may also result in dwindling fall migrations in the next few years, due to the eradication of host plants for larvae and nectar sources for adults in the breeding range. Without effective protection of the Mexican over wintering sites as well as protection of breeding habitats and nectar sources along migration routes in Canada and the United States, the eastern population of the monarch may become extirpated in North America early this century. “Extirpated” means that a species no longer exists in the wild in a particular location although it may occur elsewhere.

Nearly 20 species of butterflies in the United States are protected by the Endangered Species Act (four other species are covered by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITIES), but none are native to North America). With so many endangered and threatened species, the U.S. has become a target for wildlife entrepreneurs. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials estimate that some rare butterflies taken from U.S. parks, if preserved in good condition, sell for up to $500 to avid collectors.

The importance of butterflies in many ecosystems, however, would seem to support measures designed to restrict their capture and trade. Butterflies make their primary contribution to the environment through pollination. Many species, like the Monarch butterfly, are closely associated with a companion plant species, and their symbiotic relationship determines the welfare of both species. Yet, most species of butterflies are so numerous that collecting and trading, even on a large scale, pose no serious risks. While there is no accurate data on the scope of global trade in butterflies, one can predict with confidence that it does not threaten the vast majority of species. Only those types of butterflies whose habitat is in decline (through development, pollution, etc.) are in any danger of extinction. Butterflies whose habitat is threatened in this manner may well become extinct even without unauthorized collecting and trading, but poaching will certainly accelerate their demise.

Butterfly parks, houses and farms in the USA

There are hundreds of parks in the USA and in many numbers in all the states, hopefully barring a few ones. But some of them are listed out hereunder. Full list of parks and houses, farms cannot be shown here since it may run into several pages, making the readers to feel it a fatigue. - I post here under USA stamps showing picture of butterfly of a particular year along with a postally used envelope.

Top row - envelope - only stamp and cancellation shown.
Bottom row - loose stamps

All stamps price are 13C - stamps named left to right two rows

Papilio origoneous - swallowtail                     Euphydryas Phaeton - Checkerspot
Colias eurydice - Dog face                            Anthocaris midea - Orangetip

NABA International Butterfly Park - Texas -Unlike various butterfly conservatories that have been built across the United States, NABA International Butterfly Park provides intensive outdoor gardens of native nectar plants and specific caterpillar host plants as well as natural habitat to attract large numbers of wild butterflies and conserve rare native butterflies. In the few short years since the NABA International Butterfly Park opened, it has already been the sight of a few record sightings, butterflies never before spotted in the United States. The close proximity to Mexico and the Rio Grande gives ample opportunity for species to cross over into the United States. More than 300 species of butterflies have been found in the Rio Grande Valley, and nearly 200 different species have been spotted at the NABA International Butterfly Park. -In addition to the butterflies, the NABA International Butterfly Park is revegetating its land with rare native plants, giving visitors the chance to experience and learn about the Rio Grande Valley’s native flora and fauna. = =

ALABAMA Biophilia Nature Center's Butterfly Garden - Elberta, AL - Small indoor garden with native butterflies in all stages of the life cycle, in season. The Center consists of 20 acres which are being restored with native vegetation, including wildflower meadows full of butterfly larva and adult host plants. Hours change seasonally and cost is minimal or none, depending upon the season.

HAWAII -Foster Botanical Garden Butterfly Habitat - This butterfly habitat was dedicated 11/21/08. It is a joint venture between the City & County of Honolulu and The Butterfly Society of Hawaii. Garden is certified by North American Butterfly Association. Open to the public 9-4 daily. Admission $5 to the whole botanical garden, of which this is a new attraction.

Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden -Strong Museum, Rochester, NY -The first and only year-round indoor butterfly garden in Upstate New York. A lush rain-forest environment and walk among approximately 800 brilliantly-colored, free-flying tropical and native butterflies that flutter about (and may even land on shoulders or hands). A paved path leads guests through tropical foliage and two water features, including a cascading waterfall. Visit the chrysalis case and see emerging butterflies.

Butterfly House - Ohio -419-877-2733 -The Butterfly House contains over 500 butterflies with many different species from North & South America and Asia. The facility was built with the idea of developing beautiful gardens in a controlled environment to exhibit butterflies to the general public. An opportunity to learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and how to promote a healthy environment for these special insects will be provided as well.

Franklin Park Conservatory - Butterflies and Blooms Exhibit - over 100 species from 5 continents fly free in a 50,000 sq foot Pacific Islands and cloud forest exhibit. Visitors can watch the emerging of 100's of butterflies from pupae in our Emergence Center. 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH

River Bend Nature Center -Butterfly Conservatory

Wichita Falls, Texas Initially conceived and built as a home for native butterflies, the Ruby N. Priddy Conservatory has grown far beyond a butterfly house since it opened to the public in the spring of 2007. Visitors will find a fascinating cross-section of the plants, insects, and other animals that make their living on five ecoregions of Texas and Southern Oklahoma.

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